The Canterbury Bulldogs sit alone at the top of the National Rugby League ladder after beating the Cowboys 36-16 in their Round 22 clash at the Sydney Showgrounds.

The Bulldogs claimed top spot after the Roosters were upset by Cronulla at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Dogs led 18-12 at half-time and the Cowboys were still in the game until the closing stages when the Dogs sealed the win with a try to Dennis Scott.

The Dogs looked dominant throughout the match, with Sonny Bill Williams a standout. He scored the first try in the 20th minute and then set up Jamaal Lolesi with a magic flick pass late in the half.

It was the Cowboys who drew first blood with a converted try to Josh Hannay in the fifth minute.

However the Dogs scored the next three tries before the Cowboys hit back through prop Paul Rauhihi late in the half.

Canterbury went further ahead in the 49th minute with a try to Luke Patten, however the Cowboys pegged back the deficit to 24-16 when Ty Williams scored.

Canterbury finished the game with back-to-back tries Dennis Scott and Matt Utai in the final minutes.

Tony Grimaldi and Andrew Ryan defended grimly for the Dogs with 39 and 33 tackles respectively.

For the Cowboys, Steven Southern made 36 tackles and 10 hit-ups.