The Wests Tigers survived a scare against Canterbury on Friday, inflicting more misery on the bottom-placed Bulldogs by claiming a 36-22 win.
In front of 15,124 fans at Leichhardt Oval, the Tigers nearly threw away an 18-0 lead against a Canterbury side still reeling from coach Trent Barrett's exit from the club on Monday.
Interim Canterbury coach Mick Potter was heartened by the second-half fightback to trail 18-16 but when Aaron Schoupp was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous throw in the 62nd minute, everything unravelled for the Bulldogs.
"Our discipline needs to change and we need to rectify that we won't have that many points scored against us," Potter said.
"I thought our defence let us down in the first half and we can do better than that for sure.
"We can''t have 36 points against us. We can't concede barge-over tries on the tryline; that's not up to standard.
"It's an attention to detail thing. The first port of call is the dummy half and we let him score twice."
The hooker in question was Tigers debutant Fa'amanu Brown, who scored a double in his first NRL game since 2019.
Despite the sloppy defence and even without Josh Addo-Carr (illness) and Brent Naden, who made a dramatic switch to the Tigers earlier this week, Canterbury scored more points on Friday than they have done in the previous 10 games under Barrett.
Naden's first act as a Tigers player was to get hauled over the sideline and while his old Canterbury teammates smirked with delight, it was the new Tigers man who had the last laugh.
The Tigers began in electric fashion with Jackson Hastings steering the ship. Luke Garner, Starford To'a and a Ken Maumalo double pushed the Tigers out to an 18-0 advantage at the break.
Within the space of five minutes, however, that lead had been cut to just six points.
Matt Burton and Jeremy Marshall-King both crossed to haul the Bulldogs back into the fight after Hastings had been sinbinned for a professional foul.
Winger Jacob Kiraz scored down the Canterbury left moments after Hastings returned to the field to cut the Tigers' lead to just two points and allow the Dogs to dream of an unlikely comeback.
Any hope of that was distinguished when Aaron Schoupp lifted To'a above the horizontal and was sent to the sin bin.
Schoupp made amends with a late finish but by then a double from Brown and a try to Tigers half Jock Madden had put the game beyond Canterbury's reach.
"We went away from a few things we were doing in the first half," coach Michael Maguire said. "I always felt if we could get back in control we would get going again.
"We had Jackson go off and a few concussions but we'll look at that period (after halftime).
"I think our attack is coming along and I think Jock came in for Luke Brooks and did a really good job."
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.