The Bulldogs survived a late fightback from St George-Illawarra to extend their unbeaten run in the NRL competition to 15 matches in Sydney yesterday.

The competition leaders were cruising at 28-6 early in the second spell before St George scored four unanswered tries to set up a cliffhanger final a few minutes before the Bulldogs eventually prevailed 28-26.

St George hooker Mark Riddell missed a difficult conversion two minutes from time which would have secured a point for the club, whose playoffs chances are fading.

The Bulldogs lead with 33 points, four clear of Brisbane. Newcastle missed a chance to vault into second spot when they were upset 30-24 by the Canberra Raiders in another of the weekend's closely-fought encounters.

The Raiders pushed out to a 29-12 lead after halftime but endured some anxious moments as Andrew Johns set up two tries to bring the premiers back into the match.

A Brett Finch field goal four minutes from time gave the hosts valuable breathing space. Fullback Clinton Schifcofske took some of the gloss off the win when he suffered a suspected broken leg with 10 minutes to play.

The Knights and New Zealand Warriors are third and fourth respectively on 28 points.

Last year's beaten grand finalists Parramatta have now gone five matches without a win after the Sharks continued their resurgence with a 25-24 success at Parramatta Stadium.

Halfback Brett Kimmorley created two tries through kicks and also potted a crucial field goal seven minutes from time.

Eels hooker Brad Drew raced 90m to reduce the margin to one point, but the home side could not find a winning score, despite spending the last five minutes on attack.

South Sydney scored a morale-boosting 38-24 win over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, with wing Brent Grose bagging a double.

Souths outscored the Tigers seven tries to five to leave North Queensland and Penrith locked at the tail of the field with 10 points.

Broncos veteran Allan Langer orchestrated Brisbane's 38-20 defeat of Penrith at Panthers Stadium with a masterful display that belied his years.

So dominant was the 35-year-old halfback, the oldest player in the NRL, that Penrith coach John Lang described him as the greatest, in terms of longevity, in the history of the code.

While Langer stole the show, departing winger Chris Walker showed how much he will be missed when he goes to Souths at the end of the season, scoring his first hat-trick in the NRL.

The return of former Kangaroo Ryan Girdler from a 10-week injury lay-off helped spark the Panthers, but they were eventually overrun by the star-studded Broncos outfit.

Former Kangaroo skipper Brad Fittler admitted he was embarrassed by the Roosters' meek 48-10 capitulation to the Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park in Melbourne.

Going into the game with the best defensive record in the competition, the Roosters missed 20 first-half tackles as the Storm eventually ran in nine tries.

"The effort over the last 12 weeks has been great, so to come down here and do this is very disappointing," Fittler said.

The loss was the Roosters' first in six games and sabotaged their chances of forcing themselves into the top four.

Stephen Kearney started the rout, although rookie referee Steve Lyons missed seeing the Kiwis second-rower lose the ball as he dotted down.

His good fortune was barely a factor, though, as the Storm built up a 32-4 advantage early in the second half.

The Northern Eagles overcame the loss of forward Nathan Long with a torn calf muscle to defeat cellar-dwellers North Queensland 28-12 in Townsville.

- NZPA