Canberra have ended their five-game losing streak with a 14-4 win over Canterbury but lost Jarrod Croker to a shoulder injury on Friday night.
The Raiders dominated with field position and possession for most of the contest but couldn't capitalise on the scoreboard enough early against a gritty Bulldogs outfit who turned the home side away more often than not.
However, it was a clash the Raiders needed to win after a difficult month of winless results and particularly given they were without star five-eighth Jack Wighton, due to suspension.
Tries to Elliott Whitehead and Matt Frawley set up a 10-0 lead before Corey Waddell was penalised for a high tackle on Brad Schneider after half-time that enabled the Raiders to extend their advantage to 12.
Frawley filled in for Wighton comfortably while Croker was strong in his return to the NRL following stem-cell knee surgery before he appeared to suffer a serious shoulder injury in a try-saving attempt before the full-time siren.
Match: Raiders v Bulldogs
Round 9 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
The Bulldogs took advantage of some smart thinking from Matt Burton to put Josh Addo-Carr into space before Burton finished off his own play on the left edge to get the visitors on the board.
Canterbury were starved of possession but struggled to build any real momentum as both sides found ball movement difficult in the nation's capital.
They tried hard in the final quarter to get over Canberra's line but unlike recent weeks, the Raiders' defensive resolve came up trumps and were able to turn the visitors away.
Whitehead opens the scoring
- The Raiders enjoyed 61% possession and had an additional 50 tackles inside Canterbury's 20-metre zone but could only manage 10 points in the opening half.
- Canterbury were denied two tries via Josh Addo-Carr in the opening 40 minutes while Nick Cotric and Jarrod Croker also had tries overturned.
- Bulldogs hooker Jeremy Marshall-King was placed on report in the 29th minute for an alleged trip.
- Canberra took a 10-0 lead into the break through tries to Elliott Whitehead and Matt Frawley.
- Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad had an unhappy return to his starting No.1 spot with the Cook Islands international leaving the field in the second half with a corked leg.
- Canberra extended their lead to 12 via a penalty goal before a Matt Burton try narrowed their lead midway through the second half.
- A failed goal line dropout from Burton, which went out on the full, enabled the Raiders to skip ahead by 10 with 12 minutes remaining.
- Canterbury completed at 65% for the match with 14 errors.
Burton breathes life back into Dogs
Play of the game
Former Bulldog Matt Frawley produced an individual piece of brilliance in the first half to sell two dummies, one on Jeremy Marshall-King and the other on Matt Dufty, to get the Raiders their second of the evening.
Frawley carves them up through the middle
What they said
"Nobody on the outside understands how hard it is to lose a game and to lose five games in a row and you're not used to it, no one knows what you're going through. I'm happy for the players because every week they get back on the platform to prepare and our senior players have been instrumental in the last five weeks in helping keep everyone upbeat and starting again." - Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
"There were too many errors in the first half. We only had 35% of the ball, through our fault. To go in 10-0 down we were lucky. Errors, ill-discipline again and penalties. I thought the second half we had our chances to get back into the game. I thought we were just impatient and tried to win the game in that set. Some of our last plays need a fair bit of work." - Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett.
Tempers boil over on halftime
Both sides will make the trip to Queensland's Suncorp Stadium next weekend for Magic Round. The Raiders will enjoy a nine-day turnaround before facing the Sharks in the first game on Sunday while Canterbury will start Magic Round on Friday night with a clash against the Knights.