Coaching king returns to ANZ Stadium

Manly coach Des Hasler is confident ahead of their finals clash with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
Manly coach Des Hasler is confident ahead of their finals clash with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

If anyone knows Homebush, it's the coach who used to call it home.

That's why Des Hasler has no fear of entering at ANZ Stadium when his Manly side face South Sydney in their NRL semi-final on Friday.

The Sea Eagles have lost their past nine games at the Sydney Olympic venue, with their last win coming against, of all teams, the Rabbitohs in 2013.

"There's not much you can do about that now so you just gotta keep looking forward," Hasler said on Thursday.

"Someone else said that we don't win night games at Brookie Oval, but we won there last week. So there's hopefully we can do that again Friday night."

And Hasler has every reason to feel confident, having won more NRL games at the stadium than any other mentor in league history.

Hasler, who called ANZ Stadium home for six years as Canterbury coach, has won 60 of his 100 games at the 83,500-capacity ground.

That's a dozen more than the next best, the late former Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes, and 16 more than Wests Tigers and ex-Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire.

But when it comes to winning percentages, Hasler has some competition.

His 60 per cent strike rate ranks third behind Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson (71 per cent), and current South Sydney mentor Wayne Bennett (60.1)

If the Sea Eagles knock the Rabbitohs over on Friday, Hasler will overtake Bennett.

Hasler's side will also then be 80 minutes away from the grand final, a feat the two-time premiership-winning coach is already eyeing off.

This year's decider will be the final one played at the ANZ Stadium before it undergoes a reconstruction after next year's State of Origin series.

"I like the stadium, ANZ. I think the changes that they're going to institute is going to make it even better," Hasler said.

"At the end of the day, ANZ is where the big one's played. For our players, it's just another step closer to that. (We're) two games away."

Manly have split their two games against South Sydney this year, the last of which was a thrilling one-point defeat at ANZ Stadium.

"Earlier in the year, it was round three or four, and the second game was in the middle of Origin. I don't know if you can take too much out of that," Hasler said.

"Both sides have got different personnel as well.

"It'll come down to how both sides and the main stakeholders in those sides, how they manage the game. That's what it'll come down to."

WHICH NRL COACH IS KING AT ANZ STADIUM

* Des Hasler - 60 wins from 100 games (60 per cent)

* Steve Folkes - 48 wins from 92 games (52.2 per cent)

* Michael Maguire - 44 wins from 76 games (57.9 per cent)

* Wayne Bennett - 28 wins from 46 games (60.8 per cent)

* Kevin Moore - 20 wins from 34 games (58.8 per cent)

* Trent Robinson - 15 wins from 21 games (71.4 per cent)

Australian Associated Press