Canterbury's finals hopes are just about done with after the Warriors downed them by 7 points at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.
Despite losing Issac Luke in the first half, the home team looked stronger throughout, trailing only once when they conceded a 10th minute penalty goal, converted by Canterbury's stand-in winger Kerrod Holland.
The Bulldogs had lost Brett Morris before the game, the New South Wales rep winger missing out after lining up in Origin II less than 48 hours prior. Similarly the Warriors had lost Kieran Foran, albeit to an injury sustained in the side's last game against the Gold Coast.
Ken Maumalo got the hosts on the board not long after the opening penalty goal, pushing off some feeble defence from the 'Dogs near halfway and ran more than 50 metres despite the attention of Josh Reynolds. His side kept a 6-2 lead all the way to the break, when Josh Jackson was binned for a professional foul and Shaun Johnson took the chance at potting a penalty goal.
Ahead 8-2 at the change of ends, the Warriors wasted no time jumping further ahead immediately following the resumption. Blake Ayshford took advantage of the Canterbury 12-man line, and with Johnson's conversion a 12-point lead had opened up.
Errors and poor discipline cruelled both sides for a while until Raymond Faitala-Mariner ran hard and got the ball down in the 55th minute, bringing the blue-and-whites back into the contest. Several Bunker referrals frustrated the Auckland crowd, denying both sides at crucial junctures.
Eleven from time, Shaun Johnson potted a field goal to drill the first nail into the coffin, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck drove the last one in five minutes later when he crossed, together with Johnson's conversion giving the hosts a 21-8 lead.
Canterbury rushed through a consolation try in the 77th minute with Holland diving over out wide and threw caution to the wind in the following final minutes but it was to no avail, succumbing by seven to the Warriors and likely waving goodbye to any lingering finals hopes in the process.
Next week the Bulldogs face an indifferent Parramatta outfit at ANZ Stadium, while the Warriors head away to Perth where they'll face Manly.