Canterbury notched up their 10th straight NRL win, a 26-10 victory over Newcastle, to consolidate top spot on the competition table.
The Bulldogs surged four points clear of their challengers after opening up a 24-0 lead in the first 18 minutes at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
The Bulldogs only managed a last-minute penalty goal for the rest of the contest as a spirited Newcastle almost clawed their way back into the game.
Two tries to former NSW winger Akuila Uate and a glut of possession gave the Knights a chance at claiming their sixth win from seven matches.
But some trenchant Bulldogs defence, including one period when they held out five successive sets of six on their own line midway through the second half, helped win the day for the visitors.
The Bulldogs streeted away from the Knights in the opening quarter on the back of some slick attacking movements.
Back-up halfback Joel Romelo scored the visitors' first try after just two minutes when he swooped on a Sam Perrett infield kick after the Bulldogs had created space down the Knights' left hand side.
Right winger Johnathan Wright backed that up in the sixth minute when he chased through a Ben Barba grubber and was given a benefit of the doubt try despite appearing not to ground the ball as he slipped by it.
Wright scored his second just six minutes later when Canterbury worked a scrum move 10m out from the Knights' line after Kevin Naiqama dropped a cross field kick. And with Inu's three conversions the Bulldogs led 18-0.
Canterbury added their fourth try in the 17th minute when Josh Reynolds walked his way through some feeble goal-line defence. Inu again converted for a 24-0 lead.
The Bulldogs had enjoyed the best of territory and possession in the opening 20 minutes but the Knights tried hard to work their way back into the game.
Dane Gagai and Akuila Uate were effective in attack on the right side and Uate finally pegged a try back for the home side in the final minute of the first half when a crisp passing movement gave him space out wide and he burrowed his way over to give the Knights some hope.
Uate scored again in the 51st minute and, for much of the second half, the Knights were camped in Bulldogs territory but, despite a few close calls, they couldn't make the most of their opportunities.
Newcastle remain adrift of the top eight but showed enough against the premiership frontrunners that they are not without hope of playing finals football.
Canterbury Bulldogs 26 (J Wright 2 J Reynolds J Romelo tries K Inu 5 goals) Newcastle Knights 10 (A Uate 2 tries T Roberts goal) at Hunter Stadium. Referee: Jason Robinson, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 29,482