Canterbury junior Tommy Talau scored two tries to consign his former club to the bottom of the ladder on a night of milestones for Wests Tigers and coach Michael Maguire.
The Tigers celebrated their 500th match since the joint venture between Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain was formed in 2000 with a 34-6 defeat of the Bulldogs to climb from ninth place into sixth.
It was also Maguire's 100th NRL victory since returning from Wigan in 2012 to join South Sydney, who he guided to the 2014 premiership.
Maguire is trying to make the Tigers a team that consistently plays finals football and has introduced a number of young players, including Talau, hooker Harry Grant and interchange forward Sam McIntyre, while dropping some big names.
Talau, whose father Willie Talau made 101 appearances for the Bulldogs, was playing just his third NRL match after joining the Tigers last season from Canterbury, where he was the club's SG Ball Cup under 18s captain.
Match: Bulldogs v Wests Tigers
Round 7 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
"He is a quality kid," Maguire said. "He has probably played more in the centres or the back row but I put him on the wing a couple of weeks ago and he shined for us. I think he has found a spot there, which is good."
The 20-year-old scored two tries – a feat his father achieved four times in his career with the Bulldogs between 1998 and 2003 before stints in Super League with St Helens and Salford.
It was salt in the wounds for Canterbury coach Dean Pay and his team after arguably their worst performance of the season.
Freakish effort from Talau gets him a double
"We are building our juniors and trying to bring those kids through. That’s where we are at," Pay said.
The first sign that it wasn't going to be Canterbury's night came in the fourth minute when star fullback Will Hopoate had to be assisted from the field with an ankle injury.
Hopoate got his left ankle caught under Tigers centre Joey Leilua after bouncing out of attempted tackle on Luke Garner. He immediately limped to the sideline before being assisted into the dressing room.
He watched the second half in a moon boot and Pay was unsure how serious the injury was.
After Reimis Smith opened the scoring for Canterbury in the 18th minute, the rest of the match was virtually one-way traffic as the Tigers raced in seven tries.
Grant scored the first in the 22nd minute after winger David Nofoaluma kicked in-field and the talented hooker pounced on a fumble by Brandon Wakeham before burrowing over the try line.
Talau then scored his first NRL try after another spilled kick – this time by Bulldogs centre Kerrod Holland – was picked up by McIntrye and the three-game rookies combined to put the Tigers ahead in the 36th minute.
Yet the Tigers weren’t finished for the half and Leilua extended their lead when he forced his way through four defenders close to the line and managed to get the ball down for a 40th-minute try.
Leading 16-6 at the interval, the Tigers totally dominated the second half as Talau and Nofoaluma completed try-scoring doubles.
Leilua flick hands Nofoaluma a double
Talau's second was a spectacular effort as he reached out to plant the ball over the try line with his left arm while the rest of his body was outside the field of play in the 45th minute.
Only a try-saving tackle from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak prevented his fullback opposite Adam Doueihi from scoring in the 52nd minute and he was held up over Canterbury’s line again in the next set.
Eventually, Nofoaluma was rewarded after intercepting a Kieran Foran pass to sprint away and score in the 53rd minute and he scored again in the 60th minute from a Leilua flick pass.
It was a case of third time lucky for Doueihi when he dived over for a try in the 73rd minute and only the goal kicking of Moses Mbye denied the Tigers from hitting the 40-point mark.
"I think we are definitely heading in the right direction," Maguire said. "That's something now we have got to build upon.
"We have been sitting down further down the ladder than we should have been. At the end of the day it is my job to change the club, along with everyone. It is not just one individual, it's the players as well. We all own it.
"I made a decision that I wasn't satisfied with what I believe this team is capable of so that is why I made the changes and it is up to each player to turn up and perform the way they have been these last couple of weeks."