South Sydney have started life without Greg Inglis with a rusty 14-6 NRL win over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.
The Rabbitohs maintained their footing inside the top four with the two points however looked far below their best in the traditional Good Friday clash.
Both sides failed to trouble the scoreboard in the second half as Souths repeatedly invited the Bulldogs into the contest and Dean Pay's side lacked the class to capitalise on their opportunities.
After what was the first scoreless second half since round one in 2017, Alex Johnston's 26th-minute try off a Damien Cook grubber proved the match winner.
Souths skipper Inglis called time on his illustrious career during the week but the Rabbitohs still had enough star power to get the job done through Cook, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.
The Bulldogs put in a much-improved effort after last week's 40-4 drubbing to St George Illawarra but, at times, looked devoid of ideas without injured five-eighth Kieran Foran.
The highlight of the afternoon was the running battle between Dogs halfback Lachlan Lewis and Souths enforcer Sam Burgess.
Lewis managed to get under Burgess' skin on a number of occasions and, to the Queenslander's credit, refused to be intimidated by the English international who was clearly targeting him on Souths' right edge.
Tensions rose just before halftime when Burgess took offence to a tackle from Lewis, prompting the two sides to come together.
Wayne Bennett's side had 66 per cent of possession and 63 per cent of territory in the first half, but only led 14-6 at the break.
The Bulldogs were denied by the bunker when Kerrod Holland pushed Dane Gagai in the back before grounding the ball.
However, they couldn't be turned down when Ofahiki Ogden crashed over the top of Cook to make it 6-6.
But, when Cook trickled the ball behind the line, he found a flying Johnston to give the Rabbitohs an eight-point advantage at the break.
They could have led by more if Liam Knight had not obstructed Lewis which led to a Corey Allan try being turned down.
Australian Associated Press