Canberra have shown last year's success was no fluke with a flying 3-0 start to the season, while Newcastle have won new admirers with their gritty performances.
The Raiders continued their recent dominance of Melbourne in their own backyard with an impressive win led by English halfback George Williams in round three.
The Knights preserved their undefeated record by drawing with Penrith in what felt like a win after they clawed back from 14-0 down with depleted troops.
Just how big a toll the inspirational effort took on Newcastle remains to be seen.
Raiders: The Raiders will start 1-17 after Tom Starling and Matt Frawley were the final two players dropped from the squad. Bailey Simonsson returns on the ng with Jordan Rapana moving to the bench and Michael Oldfield out of the 17. Kai O'Donnell and Oldfield dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off. The Raiders are aiming for a 4-0 start for the first time since 2005.
Knights: Mitchell Pearce has passed all concussion protocols throughout the week and has been given the green light to play after leaving the field in last week's match against Penrith due after a head knock. In the final cuts to the squad, Gehamat Shibasaki and Chris Randall were omitted an hour before kick-off. Kalyn Ponga returns from suspension at fullback, bumping Tex Hoy to the bench. Andrew McCullough will start in Knights colours for the first time at hooker in place of Connor Watson (ankle). Herman Ese'ese starts at lock, with Tim Glasby on the interchange. Mason Lino and Pasami Saulo were the players trimmed from the bench on Saturday.
Bradman Best v Curtis Scott. The teenage Best was on fire against Penrith, scoring two tries in a powerful display. It'll be interesting to watch him face off with Canberra's Scott, who himself burst onto the scene at a young age.