It was the Bulldogs in control for the most part, leading 18-0 but a late surge by the Green Machine saw them notch up 3 late tries to get a sniff.
New Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis was a stand-out performer for his side, scoring twice and ensuring the win with his late touchdown.
A far cry from the 2008 wooden spoon owner, the Bulldogs look much more confident and controlled in their attack. Enjoying a majority share of possession and performing well in defence, coach Kevin Moore would be feeling confident about their chances in 2009.
In attack the Bulldogs looked to have plenty of options and could have bagged even more tries on the night.
The Raiders suffered some bad luck early, losing big prop Scott Logan in the opening minutes to an ankle complaint.
The Dogs didn’t waste anytime, scoring early through Bryson Goodwin in the corner and Ennis added the extras to put them up 6-0 after only 5 minutes.
The first quarter saw massive possession to the Dogs, Canberra enduring wave after wave of Canterbuy attack.
Ennis was involved frequently on the night, on this occasion finishing some nice lead-up work from Goodwin,
Canberra got some confidence before half time, managing to score with minutes remaining in the half. Against the run of play, the Raiders got themselves onto the scoreboard.
Raider Josh McCrone was the instigator, grubbering ahead, pressuring Dogs winger Brent Crisp to cough the ball up, allowing representative back Joel Monaghan to jump on the stray ball and score.
Terry Campese adding the extras, his side trailing 18-6.
The Bulldogs were having trouble cleaning up short attacking kicks, as Raiders veteran Joel Monaghan showed, again using a kick ahead to force the error, allowing him to take simplest of tries and get Canberra within 8 pts.
The Raiders seemed to get better with time, Adrian Purtell cruising over untouched to really put pressure on the Bulldogs. Behind by 2 points, the Raiders couldn’t go one further – the Dogs eventually scoring again to close out the game.