Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy felt his team were lucky to escape with a win and keep their unbeaten start to the NRL season intact after they were given an almighty scare by Canterbury in their Sunday afternoon clash at AAMI Park.
Bulldogs lock Rhyse Martin had the chance to tie the match up in the final minute with a conversion from the sideline, but the kick sailed wide, leaving the Storm ahead 18-16.
Melbourne needed to rely on some Cameron Munster magic to hit the lead in the 68th minute after trailing all game.
Munster broke a 12-12 deadlock when he scored the simplest of tries following a scrum, slipping straight through the visitors' otherwise solid defensive line.
But the Bulldogs refused to lay down and winger Reimis Smith crossed in the 77th minute to give Martin a late chance.
"I think we were pretty lucky to get the win," Bellamy said.
"The Bulldogs were extremely energetic to start the game and to their credit they continued for most of the game.
"They're a really skilful side and keep your defence on your toes."
The visitors, who were without injured star playmaker Kieran Foran, rattled the Storm in the first half, scoring both their tries down the right edge with Curtis Scott and Suliasi Vunivalu caught out.
Centre Kerrod Holland and rangy young winger Jayden Okunbor picked up the spoils, with crafty half Lachlan Lewis having a hand in both.
After a 31st minute penalty try awarded to Will Chambers, Melbourne started to build some more pressure in the second half and drew level at 12-12 when giant prop Tui Kamikamica crashed over the line off a Cameron Smith pass.
Booting all three conversions, Smith finished the day two points short of levelling Hazem El Masri's all-time scoring record.
Bellamy was happy with his team's improved attack in the second half, with the Bulldogs feeling the loss of representative prop Dylan Napa, who suffered an ankle injury and is expected to miss at least two weeks.
Although they missed banking their second win of the season, Canterbury coach Dean Pay was proud of his young team's effort to push the competition front-runners to the final siren.
"We're starting to build ourselves a game of footy and we want to make sure we turn up and do that again next week," Pay said.
"There's not many teams who come down here and do that and that's what I was really proud of.
"We faced some adversity and almost got on top of that."
Australian Associated Press