This time it was a fast-finishing Manly in golden point extra time at Allianz Stadium, as Trent Hodkinson lobbed over two field goals to earn a spot in the preliminary finals.
In a tight tussle Hodkinson had nailed a one-pointer late in the piece to claim a 16-15 lead, only for Daly Cherry-Evans to do the same for the Sea Eagles.
Josh Reynolds had a crack in the extra period but almost immediately Hodkinson found the ball up the other end and showed nerves of steel.
He hit it sweetly and the game was all over.
The Bulldogs now face Penrith on Saturday after the Panthers won a week off for beating the Roosters in a thriller of their own.
That lost meant the minor premiers had to beat North Queensland, which they did unconvincingly, and will face nemeses South Sydney for a shot at the Grand Final and back-to-back championships.
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