Manly have a taken a giant stride towards avoiding the wooden spoon after Daly Cherry-Evans inspired the Sea Eagles to an 18-6 NRL triumph over fellow strugglers Canterbury.
After an ill-disciplined first half in front of 7846 at Lottoland on Saturday night, the Queensland playmaker pulled the strings as they ran over the top of the hapless Dogs.
It was just the Sea Eagles' first win at their traditional home ground in their past seven starts there and vaulted them over Gold Coast, who lost to Penrith earlier in the day, into 12th.
"I don't think we do deserve (the wooden spoon) but every team that is in and around there probably doesn't think they deserve to be there," Manly coach Trent Barrett said.
"There has been games, I could count probably seven, we've been in and lost by a point, lost by two points, should have won the Penrith one where they came back. There's probably been seven or eight like that.
"You have seasons like it, it's unfortunate that it's happened to us. But what we can control now is the next three weeks."
The Dogs sorely missed playmaker Lachlan Lewis, who was a late withdrawal due to personal reasons, and Jeremy Marshall-King and replacement Matt Frawley struggled to take control.
The game turned after halftime, with superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic scoring twice in four minutes to give his side the decisive lead.
When Cherry-Evans spun it wide, Trbojevic powered over the top of three defenders in the 46th minute.
Trbojevic had his second when Brad Parker popped a beautiful late offload for his No.1 to give the home side a six-point buffer.
Prop Addin-Fonua Blake delivered the killer blow when, on the back of four sets of six in a row, he shot through a hole created by Cherry-Evans.
Not only did the Bulldogs have a two-game winning streak snapped, they are now in equal bottom spot after Parramatta's victory over St George Illawarra on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs carried a 6-4 lead into halftime but probably deserved to be further ahead considering their ascendancy.
They enjoyed 40 tackles inside the Sea Eagles' red zone in the first 40 but capitalised just once, when Michael Lichaa popped an inside pass for Reimis Smith.
Trent Hodkinson was sin-binned for a professional foul late in the first half - just three minutes after going onto the field - but the Dogs also failed to convert that advantage into points.
Prop David Klemmer was a standout in a losing side, charging for 205m as well as making 24 tackles.
Coach Dean Pay admitted his side struggled without Lewis' influence after the No.6 took great strides in the past four weeks.
He lamented their lack of execution and inability to cash in on numerous chances down Manly's end in the first half.