William Botoulas, Melbourne Correspondent
It has been a long time between victory drinks for Canterbury in Melbourne.
Not since Round 10, 2005 had the Bulldogs come away from the southern state with premiership points.
The win was made all the more impressive after centre Josh Morris was a late withdrawal, joining Josh Reynolds as the side’s NSW stars left to watch on from the bench.
But an inspired defensive effort proved the difference in the drought-breaking win.
Captain Michael Ennis was one man pleased to finally leave Victoria with a winning smile.
“It is a really tough place to come and win, the two points are definitely more valuable when you can come and win here,” said Ennis.
“They are a great footy team, really strong in the tackle, we knew it was going to be a tough night.
“Massive win and some really special moments from some of our boys defensively.”
Fullback Mitch Brown was one of the men singled out by coach Des Hasler post-match for his three try-saving efforts during the 80 minutes.
Brown’s performance typified the visitor’s defensive resolve on the night.
The inability of Melbourne to breach the Bulldogs’ goal-line defence was the reason Hasler saw behind Cameron Smith’s decision to opt for a touchline penalty kick with two minutes left.
Smith faded the kick to the right of the posts and the rest was history.
“It is always a credit to a side’s defence when they take two points at the end,” said Hasler.
“We had to defend for long periods at crucial parts of the field and at difficult parts of the field.
“Walking out here with these two points is like walking out with four.”
The Bulldogs will take on Wests Tigers next Sunday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.