Sharks suffer upset loss to Bulldogs on Shaun Johnson's return

It was not a fairytale return from injury for Shaun Johnson, as his Sharks side were unable to overcome a resurgent Bulldogs team, despite dominating possession.

The Bulldogs survived a second-half onslaught from the Sharks on Saturday night, including a whopping 34-7 disadvantage in second-half plays inside their 20-metre zone.

They also had to withstand a furious finish from the home side, who had pulled within six points when winger Mawene Hiroti crossed with four minutes remaining.

In the end the Bulldogs held on to claim their first win since last September and the first under Trent Barrett, however the game will likely be remembered for another reason.

The contest in front of a crowd of 7420, also marked the anticipated return of Shaun Johnson, who looked sharp but failed to take advantage of a glut of field position in the second half.

Johnson, coming off an Achilles injury, was substituted after an hour.

An upset loomed the moment Josh Dugan was left stranded by Will Hopoate for opening points in the fifth minute, a missed tackle compounded by his dropped ball to gift Nick Cotric a second try.

Completing the perfect start was a well-executed set play for Nick Meaney that gave Canterbury a three-try advantage, but also kickstarted a flurry of fiery exchanges.

Bulldogs halfback Kyle Flanagan was penalised for obstruction from the ensuing kick-off - a ruling unsuccessfully challenged - before he pulled off a trysaver on Teig Wilton.

That lit the fuse for the visitors, with Talakai attempting his audacious shot that concussed Doorey.

It was the flashpoint of what was a frustrating half for the Sharks, who were denied six tries for the night and were booed off by their home fans at the break.