A late James Graham try and a classic Josh Jackson trysaver have helped Canterbury survive a pre-finals scare to defeat the Warriors 26-22 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
With two minutes remaining Graham crashed over next to the posts to put the Bulldogs ahead.
But the Warriors had one chance in the final minute before Jackson snuffed that out when he forced Solomone Kata into touch just metres from the tryline with a crunching tackle.
The Dogs will host St George Illawarra in the first week of the finals in a sudden death match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
The loss is the Warriors’ eighth in a row, a club record.
Canterbury were expected to make light work of the Warriors, who have had a poor end to the seas, particularly since Shaun Johnson went down with an ankle injury.
The visitors opened the scoring when Nathan Friend ducked his way over in the fourth minute.
Josh Morris struck back for the Dogs in the 14th minute courtesy of a lovely offload from Curtis Rona.
Rona then crossed for his 22nd try of the year in the 29th minute as the home side looked to be finding their gear on the back of forward dominance.
After a sluggish Canterbury led 8-6 at the break, Solomone Kata put the New Zealand side back ahead four minutes after halftime.
But the Dogs went ahead again after tries to Chase Stanley in the 57th minute and Damien Cook four minutes later.
That pushed the Dogs lead out to 20-10. But the Warriors were not done yet as Tuimoala Lolohea crossed for two tries in the space of five minutes.
The fullback converted his second try to put the Warriors ahead 22-20 with 10 minutes to play.
Skipper Graham then took matters into his own hands as the Dogs secured a fifth-placed finish after the 26 regular season rounds.
The win is the Dogs’ fifth in a row.