Rising playmaker Jake Averillo produced the best game of his young NRL career to help end Canterbury's five-match losing streak with a 28-6 upset win over St George Illawarra at Stadium Australia on Monday.
The Bulldogs were at their giant-killing best against a Dragons outfit that lacked any real urgency or desire to back up their mammoth win against the Broncos last week, causing huge concerns for Anthony Griffin.
Averillo scored two tries and kicked six goals to guide the Belmore outfit around the paddock, while Jeremy Marshall-King's return after a three-month foot injury also proved pivotal in the boilover.
With Kyle Flanagan watching on as 18th man, it was his former halves teammate who produced two pieces of individual brilliance before and after half-time to set up a 14-6 lead.
From there, Averillo and Marshall-King combined with Brandon Wakeham to pile on a further two tries to seal the win.
Match: Bulldogs v Dragons
Round 14 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
"I felt like we were in control of the game for the whole 80 minutes," Averillo told NRL.com.
"We made them work out of their end, put the pressure on and they just folded so we capitalised.
"I thought the big thing was the Penrith game a couple of weeks ago, we took a lot of confidence out of keeping the best attacking team to basically four points in the first half.
"We wanted to bring that positiveness into today's game and we really did that. Hopefully we can keep doing that week-by-week."
Averillo does it all himself for the Bulldogs
For the Dragons, who had an 11-day turnaround between games, they never looked like getting out of third gear with a 42 per cent possession rate compounding their woes.
In a week where the attention turned on the Dragons for their lack of want to re-sign Matt Dufty, the fullback looked a shadow of his former self with a couple of clumsy defensive efforts.
A penalty goal to Averillo started proceedings for the Bulldogs as the Dragons fumbled their way through the opening stages of the game in a trend that only continued.
Try-savers on Averillo and Tuipulotu Katoa prevented the Bulldogs from extending their lead as the Dragons took advantage of some ill-discipline to put on a try on shortly after through Brayden Williame.
The Dragons looked like finishing the half on top after Canterbury lost skipper Josh Jackson for a 10-minute spell in the sin bin as a result of repeated infringements.
However, the Bulldogs rose to the challenge of playing with 12 men to snatch the lead before the break.
"I thought they played really well, from the get-go," Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett said.
Averillo mesmerises the Dragons for his double
"I noticed after the Panthers game a few weeks ago a bit of a change in attitude defensively. We changed a few things [during the bye week] and it came through tonight.
"It gives them some confidence. It's been a tough, difficult three months so it gives us a chance to get better again each week."
Averillo continued his strong start to the game with a slick effort to burn Jack de Belin close to the line, scoring next to the posts.
He was in again immediately after half-time with a bamboozling effort on Dufty to leave the fullback in his wake with a dummy after a Nick Meaney offload on halfway.
Too easy for Marshall-King
Dufty's defensive woes were on display again soon after when Marshall-King threw a dummy to go over untouched.
"I thought Marshall-King made a huge difference to our team, having a nine that can run and is fast and can play over the advantage line," said Barrett.
"We've really missed him, it was a massive effort for him to play 80 minutes in his first game back."
The Dragons' ill-discipline continued with Corey Norman, Blake Lawrie and Brayden Williame all placed on report in the second half for high tackles.
Their efforts were only matched by another poor defensive display as Adam Elliott ran over Hunt and Dufty on the Bulldogs' way to their fourth try of the afternoon.
Elliott beating defenders at will