Canterbury survived a huge scare in Round 12 this season in an eventful night at ANZ Stadium.
With both sides missing key players due to State of Origin duty, it was the Bulldogs that adjusted quickest with Tim Lafai racing through to open the scoring in the 25th minute then adding a second soon after from a Joel Romelo cross-field bomb.
Leading 12-0, the Bulldogs looked set to put their opponents to the sword but a dropped ball minutes before the break saw Jamie Soward scoot across and when Ben Barba led with the knees as he came across in cover the resulting eight-point try made it 12-8 at the break.
The Bulldogs came out firing after half-time and Sam Perrett handed them back the advantage when he crossed out wide, but that merely set the game up for a grandstand finish.
With six minutes remaining, quick hands from Soward paved the way for Matt Prior to score and narrow the gap to two. Then in the dying seconds, more drama ensued as Josh Dugan chipped over the top only for Ben Barba to gather the ball up and embark on a dazzling 80-metre run to the line.
Incredibly, after checking the video, Barba’s try was disallowed and the Dragons awarded a penalty some 32 metres out near the sideline.
Soward had a chance to send the game into extra time but his kick sailed across the face of the posts and the Bulldogs escaped with a thrilling 16-14 result.
James Graham was brilliant for the home side, making 186 metres and 35 tackles while captain Michael Ennis added 54 tackles of his own.
Dugan made 152 metres for the Dragons.