Canterbury forward Corey Harawira-Naera could play as soon as round 11 after he and Jayden Okunbor successfully appealed their NRL sacking.
Okunbor and Harawira-Naera were de-registered earlier this year following a schoolgirl sex scandal in Port Macquarie in March.
The league on Monday announced an alternative sanction, with Okunbor banned for 14 games and Harawira-Naera ruled out for 10.
Both suspensions have been backdated to round one, meaning New Zealand international Corey Harawira-Naera could run out for the Bulldogs against Newcastle on July 26.
Okunbor has another five games to serve of his sanction.
He has also been fined $22,500 and ordered to undergo a counselling or community service, while Harawira-Naera has been hit for $15,000.
"The NRL took the action which it considered necessary given the serious breaches of the code of conduct - breaches the appeals committee also found to be serious," NRL acting chief executive Andrew Abdo said.
"The independent appeals committee has taken a different view on what penalty the players should face and although we are disappointed, we respect the outcome."
The Bulldogs were made aware of the decision on Monday, however it is unclear whether the club will formally reinstate both players.
"We are now working with the NRL to determine how this process will be implemented and will await further advice from the NRL on the next stage," the club said in a statement.
The development comes three months after the Bulldogs acted swiftly in cutting the pair for breaking club protocols while on an away trip.
The scandal also resulted in the club losing a reported $2 million major sponsorship deal with restaurant chain Rashays following the incident.
The club remains without a major sponsor.
"The conduct of the two players, on the eve of our final trial match, demonstrated an unacceptable lack of respect for their teammates, their coach and club officials, our hosts in Port Macquarie and fans of the game everywhere," the club said at the time.
Australian Associated Press