Brisbane came as close to beating Canterbury as anyone has since the Bulldogs' 11-game winning streak started in May, giving coach Anthony Griffin and skipper Sam Thaiday the confidence their 2012 NRL hopes aren't yet dashed.
The Broncos have lost four in a row to slip to seventh on the competition ladder, but Griffin was surprisingly upbeat after seeing his side downed 22-14 in front of a 19,870-strong crowd at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
"The important thing was we showed some character," Griffin said.
"We were a shandy off getting a win against the best team in the competition on their home ground.
"In the end, we killed ourselves rather than them beating us.
"We produced an effort we can build on."
If not for yet another brilliant display from Ben Barba, they might have taken the competition points as well.
Brisbane started the game in ominous touch, scoring twice in the opening six minutes through Ben Te'o and Corey Norman, before a penalty goal gave them a 14-0 lead after 13 minutes.
They wouldn't score again for the rest of the match, falling away as the Bulldogs crossed through Josh Jackson, Martin Taupau and twice to Barba, although it wasn't through lack of chances.
Ben Hannant's butchered try in the 24th headlined a series of wasted try-scoring opportunities for the visitors.
The burly prop ignored the support of five-eighth Ben Hunt, choosing to go himself before being wrapped up in a strong one-on-one tackle by Barba.
Barba again was on hand to save the day late in the fixture when he brilliantly denied Peter Wallace in another one-on-one effort, to go with two tries in a man-of-the-match performance.
"It was a good start but we got a bit too excited and went away from what was working for us," Thaiday said.
"We let the Bulldogs play the brand of footy they've been playing all year that's put them in the position they're in.
"... We've got some tough games coming up (but) that's a great confidence booster.
"Our season is in our hands now. We can do anything we want to do with the rest of the year."
It wasn't a typically-efficient Canterbury performance, with Hasler admonishing his team's scrappy start but praising their resilience to finish on top.
"We were little bit disappointing with our execution in some areas of the game," Hasler said.
"We need to take the right options at the right time.
"It was good to be able to come back from the start we had.
"One of the qualities of this side (is) they stuck to what we had to do."