Giant-killers Canterbury have dealt Parramatta's NRL top-four hopes a massive blow with a 12-6 boilover in a spiteful thriller at Bankwest Stadium.
The Eels went into the game with a chance to move into fourth spot but were ground down by a resilient Bulldogs and had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Amazingly, after being bottom of the ladder for most of the year, the Bulldogs are provisionally two points behind eight-placed Cronulla.
While it was thought their finals hopes had died months ago, if they win their final two games against North Queensland and Brisbane, and another results run their way, they can remarkably make it into the top eight.
The Bulldogs broke a 6-6 deadlock with 10 minutes to go on Thursday night when Nick Meaney was awarded a penalty try.
When the Bulldogs winger took a neat offload from Kerrod Holland and reached out, halfback Mitchell Moses dislodged the ball from Meaney's grasp by illegally leading with his foot.
Eels skipper Clint Gutherson unsuccessfully remonstrated with referee Grant Atkins, saying: "What's he meant to do with his legs?"
The Eels had their chances in the final stages with winger Maika Sivo - who has been a try-scoring machine all year with 16 four-pointers - twice failing to ground the ball.
They finished the game with three sets on the Bulldogs line but Dean Pay's side valiantly held on for their fourth straight win, and sixth in eight games.
The Bulldogs had heroes all over the park.
Will Hopoate had a huge influence on the game and ran for 205 metres, Josh Jackson was tireless in defence, Meaney had an outstanding game under the high ball while veteran playmaker Kieran Foran continues to show signs of getting back to his best.
The game was played with a finals intensity and was marked by huge hits and several flashpoints in the second half.
Tempers reached boiling point when Nathan Brown was sin-binned for a shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, for which the Eels No.13 looks set to spend time on the sidelines.
Bulldogs skipper Jackson took exception and set off a scuffle while Brown was being spoken to.
Watene-Zelezniak temporarily left the field soon after with a shoulder injury stemming from Brown's shot.
Pay, who watched his winger Reimis Smith sin-binned for gently head-butting Sivo two minutes after Brown was marched, believed the Eel deserved more than 10 minutes on the sidelines.
"If Reimis got 10 minutes, there's a big difference in it," he said, adding Brown shot out of the line several times in search of a big hit.
"He was having a go all night, he was consistent," Pay said.
Meanwhile, Eels coach Brad Arthur had no issue with Meaney's penalty try and said his side were victims of their own impatience.
"They dragged us into a fight and pressured us out if it," he said.
"We've got to be a bit more patient."
Australian Associated Press