Deemed as heavyweights this year by many, the Parramatta Eels and Manly Sea Eagles did battle at Bankwest Stadium.
With both sides undefeated and boasting rosters that matched up well, many expected a typically fierce and physical contest as always.
They received just that.
For the Eels, they move to four wins to open a season since 1989; the first time in 31 years.
It was the Eels who enjoyed the early possession, peppering the Manly line only to be held at bay.
Instead, they had to settle for a penalty goal to open the scoring before Manly followed suit with one of their own.
The first try came courtesy of veteran centre Michael Jennings after some tremendous lead-up play from winger Maika Sivo.
Sivo, known for scoring plays, looked to be tackled by Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.
Instead, he spun around and before his arm touched the ground, he looped a pass back to Jennings who juggled behind him before scoring.
The Eels then asserted their dominance to cap off another impressive play, with Sivo again the provider.
This time, off a scrum play, he took the ball wide and found Dylan Brown who went over to score.
After the resumption, an errant Sean Keppie pass saw Manly lose possession.
From there, it was a rare try scorer in Kane Evans, who barged his way over from close range.
Down 18-2 but not out of the game, Manly pulled off one of their trademark comebacks.
Jorge Taufua grabbed the first of his tries; a typical overlap and the winger was there to capitalise.
The second came courtesy of a jinking, jiving, thriving Dylan Walker, who slipped through the Eels defence.
With Manly seemingly gaining the momentum, Eels halfback Mitch Moses did the smart play.
He caught Manly napping and slotted a field goal to extend the lead to seven points.
Taufua then showed his strength to narrow the margin to just three points, when he somehow held onto the ball despite three Eels defenders around him.
Then, in what was the most contentious moment of the match, a pass from Tom Trbojevic that saw Reuben Garrick in space was called forward.
Criticised by fans galore – though many also backed the call – it had everyone talking. Head of referees Graham Annesley said the call was incorrect.
In the end, though, the referee’s decision stood and the Eels defeated their fierce rivals in a thriller.
Speaking post-game, Trbojevic was diplomatic when asked about the pass.
“I thought I threw it back, I didn’t get to see too much of it,” he said.
“You get those ones, disappointing one but that’s footy I guess.”
They might be 4-0 but Eels coach Brad Arthur is not getting ahead of himself.
“It’s nice for our fans but we want to repeat that every game,” Arthur said.
“We need to repeat our attitude and mentality.
“If we got beat on the death there tonight, if the pass had gone the other way, we have to go back and have a look how we let them back into the game.
“In terms of our attitude and mentality, that’s the priority for us right now.
“We’ve still got a long way to go.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Kane Evans
2. Jorge Taufua
- Maika Sivo