It was the lack of points conceded in a Bulldogs-dominated first half that underpinned Manly's 18-6 win on the back of three second half tries, according to coach Trent Barrett.
Ill-discipline from the home side handed Canterbury a 7-3 first half penalty advantage and 55% of the ball.
Trent Hodkinson was also sin-binned, meaning the blue and whites had 13 on 12 for the final 10 minutes of the opening 40.
However they earned just a narrow 6-4 half time lead despite a mountain of attacking possession and that was the difference after the 80 minutes, according to Barrett.
"Our first half set it up really, down to 12 men, the defensive effort in the first half they just kept turning up and turning up," he said.
"I think we only had one good ball set in the first half and on the wrong end of possession and 7-3 penalties, to come in at 6-4 was a real good result for us. I knew if we had enough good ball we'd score enough points. Credit to the players, they did a terrific job."
He said he was delighted for the players that they were able to back up last week's 33-32 win at Cronulla to earn back-to-back wins for just the second time this year after downing the Broncos and Storm in rounds 10 and 11.
Barrett had warm praise for Eels-bound forward Shaun Lane, whose 165 metres was the most by any Manly forward. His 33 tackles trailed only Jake Trbojevic (49) among his teammates.
"He's been one of our best players all year Laney, it's a real shame we're going to lose him," he said.
"Unfortunately ... he was on the bench in reserve grade at the Warriors when we bought him and he was very cheap. Form like that warrants a big pay rise and we couldn't afford to keep him.
"That's a big shame but I'm really happy for him, he's worked hard and he'll be a good buy for Parramatta next year."
Barrett said prop Martin Taupau and centre Brian Kelly, who both came off injured in the second half, were unlucky to miss and further football.
"They should be both all right, both precautionary. Kel's got a bump on his knee and Marty the same. I think the rest of them are ok," he said.
However he would not confirm nor deny News Ltd reports that the club had signed Titans half Kane Elgey for next season.
"No I can't confirm that at this stage. I haven't been in the office today and I've had my phone off so I don't know," he said.