Now after Canterbury's crushing defeat by Melbourne in the NRL grand final last September, the Bulldogs will look to their master motivator to perform the feat again in 2013.
In 2008, Hasler led Manly to an emphatic victory over the might of the Storm - who were rorting the salary cap - despite being smashed by Craig Bellamy's team in the decider the year before.
Bellamy has twice bounced back to win grand finals the year after losing them (2007 and 2009), but they don't count as the premierships were stripped because of the club's salary cap cheating.
Hasler's feat stands alone since 1995-96 when the Sea Eagles went from runners-up to title-holders.
Of course, Hasler featured in those Manly teams as well, as a player.
So the record books show how hard it is for a team to go back to the well when they have been so close to glory the previous season.
Even with the Bulldogs' improved roster in 2013, it won't be easy, especially now they'll be more of a target for opposition teams who've had a season to work out counters to their style under Hasler.
But Hasler's tenacity and brilliant tactical mind have the Bulldogs in the best shape possible to dust themselves off and reach for the summit.
"It's just his motivation for success. It's at a premium really," said Bulldogs captain Mick Ennis.
"I was very interested to see where we were at when we came back this season.
"He's so focused on getting us to be as successful as we can be, so he just applies himself."
Canterbury have added powerhouse backrower Tony Williams to their stocks, and with all their forwards on the park - the Bulldogs surely boast the best pack in the competition.
Problem is, they have star prop James Graham suspended for almost half the season for his grand final bite, and fellow front rower Sam Kasiano has had a couple of fitness worries through the off-season.
But what they might miss in go forward for the first few weeks, the Bulldogs more than make up for with attacking potency now Williams is on board.
He's near unstoppable close to the line, and will form a devastating second row combination with Frank Pritchard.
"He's a guy that can break open a game from nothing and he's obviously a very good edge player. These days they're so important," Ennis said.
Any fears that superstar fullback Ben Barba might struggle to reach the heights he achieved last season were put to bed with his dazzling, three-try effort in the All Stars match.
If fellow attacking weapons Josh Reynolds, Josh Morris and Krisnan Inu can maintain their match-winning standards from 2012, then the Bulldogs will be well on their way to another grand final.
However, there is a slight stumbling block they must negotiate in regards to how the obstruction rule is handled by the referees.
Last year, the Bulldogs ran rings around opposition teams with decoys and second-man plays.
But new referees boss Daniel Anderson has changed the rules to state that even accidental contact between decoy runners and defenders will be penalised - even if defenders are in no position to stop a try.
"Our staff put a lot of time and effort into their pre-game analysis these days," Ennis said.
"But I think there's just been clarity. I don't think the rules have actually changed. At the end of the day if you're going to run a line on an edge you've got to run through the line and not obstruct.
"I don't think we'll be any different to any other team."