Canterbury put up a valiant fight but could not disrupt a four-game NRL losing streak as they fell to South Sydney 26-10 on Sunday night.
Down just two points at halftime, the Bulldogs remained in the battle but could not overcome a Rabbitohs side that showed more poise at Bankwest Stadium.
It took just four minutes for Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston to make one of his trademark blitzes down the sideline, scoring after a 60-metre dash from a Latrell Mitchell pass.
But while Dean Pay's men have lacked polish in 2020, they have not been short on bravery.
Souths went into the sheds up by just a penalty as the Bulldogs refused to roll over, but seven errors in the second half dashed their hopes of a win.
"The first try was a soft try but we got ourselves into the game and competed really hard for that first 40 minutes," said Bulldogs coach Pay.
"The 15 minutes after halftime really hurt us, but they kept fighting until the end."
Souths started the second half with a quick try to Jaydn Su'A, but the Dogs marched up the field and Raymond Faitala-Mariner returned serve in the 55th minute.
And while both sides were scrappy after the break, it was Souths who were able to take their opportunities.
That killer instinct was typified midway through the second half when, within four points of Souths, fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak coughed up possession in Bulldogs territory and Cody Walker scored in the next set.
Dane Gagai's runaway try - his 50th in the NRL - off a Bulldogs error in the final minute was the cherry on top of the win.
It was not pretty, but the victory was enough to please Souths coach Wayne Bennett.
"We've got a fair bit of improvement in us still," he said.
"It was important on one end to play well because we've just got to improve in a couple of areas and winning helps that and it gives them confidence."
Bennett confirmed a dislocated knee for Souths winger Braidon Burns who is likely to be sidelined for the season, while Bulldogs star Adam Elliott will go for scans on what is believed to be a dislocated shoulder.
Losing Elliott would be a crushing blow for the Bulldogs who on Saturday face a Brisbane side desperate for a win at Suncorp Stadium.
South Sydney have a short turn around before taking on Wests Tigers on Friday night.
Australian Associated Press