Bulldogs find their bark to down dour Dragons
The Bulldogs have bounced back from a month of adversity to stun the Dragons 16-2 in an absorbing arm wrestle at ANZ Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Coming off an embarrassing 38-0 loss at the hands of the Panthers last week, Des Hasler's men responded how they usually do when their backs are against the wall to grind out a crucial win to snap a four-game losing streak.
Their kicking options in attack still leave a lot to be desired but no one can question Canterbury's ability to scrap out a win when it matters most.
The loss undoes a lot of the good work the Dragons have done this season and continues their abysmal record against the men in blue and white that has seen them lose 10 of their past 11 matches.
Panned for their attack all season, the Bulldogs made a statement from the opening set with Des Hasler's men gaining huge yards before Matt Frawley chipped through to earn his side a line dropout.
Canterbury continued to dominate proceedings and on the back of an 81 per cent possession count looked odds on to open the scoring only for representative winger Brett Morris to inexplicably put down a pass from his brother in front of the try line without a defender near him.
With next to no ball in the opening quarter of the contest, the Dragons gladly opted for the two points when returning Bulldog Chase Stanley was penalised for impeding Jason Nightingale as he chased through a bomb.
Neither side was able to cross the stripe in the first half although Bulldogs winger Marcelo Montoya went agonisingly close in the 40th minute, only to be bundled into touch centimetres short of the line.
The defensive battle looked set to continue after the break until a poor kick by Frawley was claimed by Josh Dugan in-goal who sped away from the quick tap only to be chased down by a flying Moses Mbye just over halfway.
Just when the record books were being dusted off to search for the lowest-scoring games in history, an average kick from Frawley created something out of nothing as Will Hopoate broke through on the left edge and then dished a pass back inside to Josh Morris who crossed to end Canterbury's 187-minute try-scoring drought.
The Dragons were denied an immediate response when Dugan's worryingly-easy four-pointer was called back because the Bulldogs had taken too long to pack the scrum.
It would prove to be a costly decision as a six-again call gave the Bulldogs a great opportunity to put the match to bed, and with no markers in front of him the much-maligned Michael Lichaa leapt over for his first try of the season to bring the 24,083 fans to their feet and end Canterbury's four-game losing streak.
There was still time for late drama as Montoya picked up the scraps out wide to crash over to seal the 14-point win before Dragons reserve Taane Milne was sin-binned at the death for lashing out at Josh Morris.
Bulldogs 16 (Josh Morris, Michael Lichaa, Marcelo Montoya tries; Moses Mbye 2 goals) def. Dragons 2 (Gareth Widdop goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 2-0 Dragons. Crowd: 24,083