All eyes might have been on marquee signing Kieran Foran but hooker Michael Lichaa has stolen the show in Canterbury's 16-12 NRL trial win over Canberra on the Sunshine Coast.
Foran had a quiet first half on Saturday night in his Bulldogs debut with a handful of touches in a new-look spine featuring Moses Mbye at fullback.
However, Lichaa made the difference in the first half, opening the scoring before setting up Greg Eastwood to give the Bulldogs a 12-0 halftime lead.
After a second-half Raiders comeback, Josh Bergamin scored the match winner in the dying moments.
The win was a perfect start for new coach Dean Pay and welcome news for the Bulldogs who have overcome a tumultuous period with chairman Ray Dib being ousted by Lynne Anderson.
Five-eighth Foran showed no signs of the shoulder, back and quadriceps issues that have troubled him for years and forced him to miss New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup campaign.
The Bulldogs were without their other big-name signing - Test prop Aaron Woods - due to a hamstring injury.
Canberra were a different side in the second half with playmaker Blake Austin finally unleashed.
They cut the deficit to 12-6 by the 44th minute when Sam Williams set up forward Sia Soliola to crash over.
Soliola was lucky to be there. The hulking forward had to be rescued on Wednesday off Alexandra Headlands during the Raiders' week-long Queensland stay when caught in a rip.
Canberra's Makahesi Makatoa levelled the scores when he ran off Craig Garvey to score in the 71st minute.
Garvey is vying for the Raiders' hooker role with Siliva Havili in the absence of English international Josh Hodgson, who is out until April with a knee injury.
Pay used a 32-strong squad while Raiders coach Ricky Stuart utilised 26 players.
It might have been the opening trial but there was plenty of feeling with Canberra's Junior Paulo and the Bulldogs' Adam Elliott sin binned in the 24th minute for an off-the-ball incident.