Canterbury Bankstown have put a week of turmoil behind them with a tough 16-2 victory over St George Illawarra on Queen's Birthday Monday.
Points were at a premium on a lovely afternoon for football to end the long weekend - it was the embattled Bulldogs that scored three tries to none to put away the third placed Dragons and bring some relief to coach Des Hasler for the moment.
Josh Morris' try in the 53rd minute broke a three hour drought for the blue and white side on try-scoring and the floodgates opened in a sense after. Michael Lichaa snuck over before Marcelo Montoya added the crown to the victory just before full-time.
While the first half lacked the tries that were scored in the second, it wasn't for a lack of trying. St George found themselves twice inches away from points but were repelled by a determined Bulldogs defense that refused to lose their fifth game in a row.
Not to mention the home side opened the contest with five almost consecutive sets on the Dragons line which although it didn't produce points - it gave them a sense of belief highlighted by their backline spread from the first set of the contest which earnt them a dropout. This was a re energised Bulldogs team that if they take this attitude to the remainder of the season might sneak into the top eight.
For the Dragons, who have now lost five straight to the Bulldogs, they lost a chance to leap into third past Cronulla Sharks, and for a majority of the contest - it was reminiscent of previous years teams where the attack looked lost and relied on individual sparks to prise open the defense. Five-eighth Gareth Widdop put in a few inventive kicks in the first half but the spine of the Saints went missing against a stubborn defense.
Now Saints will lick their wounds and take on Parramatta Eels back at the same venue Sunday afternoon while the 'Dogs enjoy the pre-Origin bye before heading across the Tasman to face the erratic Warriors on Friday week.