The Blues have been the dominant team so far with wins over the Greater Western Sydney Giants, reigning premier Sydney and then a 70-point thumping of Fremantle.
The Brisbane Lions, Collingwood and North Melbourne remain the other undefeated teams after two mini-matches and one normal time fixture so far in the NAB Cup. Geelong is the only team that has lost one match that could still sneak into the grand final depending on results this weekend.
If Carlton and Collingwood both win its matches this weekend, it will set up a mouth-watering early 2013 encounter between Malthouse's Blues and Nathan Buckley's Magpies that is sure to be full of intrigue.
This weekend there will be two matches on Friday night and then the rest on Saturday with the top two teams on the ladder come Saturday night set to play in the NAB Cup grand final the following the week.
The matches that could have an influence on that include Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, Adelaide hosting Carlton on Friday and Geelong playing North Melbourne at Simonds Stadium.
If Carlton beats Adelaide the Blues will go straight through to the grand final likely against the winner of Collingwood's match with Brisbane.
However, if the Blues lose to the Crows it opens the door for the winner of the Kangaroos-Cats clash. With a Carlton loss, North Melbourne will be guaranteed of a grand final berth with a win, while Geelong could sneak in depending on percentage.
Other matches this weekend include the GWS Giants hosting Essendon at Manuka Oval on Friday, and then on Saturday Hawthorn plays Richmond at Aurora Stadium, Melbourne faces St Kilda at Casey Fields, Fremantle hosts the Western Bulldogs in Mandurah, West Coast takes on Port Adelaide in Alice Springs and Sydney plays Gold Coast in Blacktown.
Last year's grand finalists Sydney and Hawthorn remain the only two teams yet to win a match in the NAB Cup.
NAB CUP ROUND 3
Friday March 8
GWS Giants v Essendon at Manuka Oval, 6.10pm
Adelaide Crows v Carlton at AAMI Stadium, 8.10pm
Saturday March 9
Hawthorn v Richmond at Aurora Stadium, 1.10pm
Melbourne v St Kilda at Casey Fields, 2.30pm
Fremantle v Western Bulldogs at Mandurah, 3.30pm
Geelong Cats v North Melbourne at Simonds Stadium, 3.40pm
Collingwood v Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium, 6.40pm
West Coast v Port Adelaide at Alice Springs, 7pm
Sydney Swans v Gold Coast Suns at Blacktown International Sportspark, 7pm