The nib Newcastle Knights have jumped out of the blocks with a dominant 32-16 victory over Canterbury in Round 1 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The scene was set for the huge season opener against the Bulldogs.
A mammoth downpour greeted the two teams at kick off but a COVID-capacity crowd of 19,555 came out to watch the red and blue's 2021 campaign begin.
The Knights trailed early when Dallin Watene-Zelezniak slid over untouched in the fourth minute.
The Knights would hit back straightaway through milestone man and co-captain Daniel Saifiti who strolled over next to the posts courtesy of a beautiful short ball from Mitchell Pearce.
Mitchell Barnett converted to make it 6-4.
Saifiti scores in 100th game
Barnett made it two from two kicking a penalty goal in the 14th minute.
The Bulldogs built some pressure off the back of a Hymel Hunt error of the kick off.
Their pressure proved too much as Adam Elliot crashed over to put the away side back in front halfway through the opening half.
Kyle Flanagan added the extras to make it 10-8.
The Knights worked back some field position and quickly unlocked the Dogs defence.
Starford Toa scored with an acrobatic finish in the corner to restore the Knights lead.
Barnett missed the conversion to keep the score at 12-10
On the stroke of half time, Connor Watson put Barnett through a hole and the second-row forward crossed for an untouched four points.
As the half time siren sounded, Barnett slotted the extra two to take an 18-10 lead into the break.
Watson guides Barnett over close to half time
The second half begun and the Knights again gained the ascendency.
Daniel Saifiti would have his first career double when he barged over seven minutes after half time from a Jayden Brailey short ball.
Bradman Best put the Knights on course for an opening win soon after, making it to the line for his first try of the season.
Mitchell Pearce laid on the try for is second try assist of the night.
Mitchell Barnett made it 30-10 with a kick from close to the sideline.
The goal-kicker would slot another penalty goal before full-time to make it 32-10 and make it 16 individual points for the night - half of the team's score.
Watene-Zelezniak scored a late consolation try to put the scoreboard at 32-14.
A late Connor Watson try-saver on the line sent the Newcastle crowd into raptures
The Knights would hold onto a strong 32-16 opening victory which is their fourth consecutive opening round victory.
Daniel Saifiti was instrumental in is 100th game posting two tries and running for 174 metres.
David Klemmer was impressive running for 205 metres and Mitchell Pearce was back to his best with two try assists and two line break assists.