Northland will be out to halt Bay of Plenty's impressive unbeaten run , when the two teams clash in Thursday's ITM Cup crossover match in Whangarei.
The Steamers have made an outstanding start to their 2011 campaign, by knocking off Counties Manukau, North Harbour, Waikato and Wellington in four games in just two weeks.
The Taniwha have won two out of four matches played thus far this season, with their most recent 20-17 win over Otago in taking them to fifth in the Championship.
The win could come at a cost though, as Northland centre Rene Ranger looks likely to miss the rest of the ITM Cup season.
Ranger, who was instrumental in setting up the match-winning try by Lachie Munro, sustained a lacerated kidney after receiving a heavy blow during the second half.
Coach Adriaan Ferris said it was a huge knock for Ranger and the team.
"We were pretty concerned about him. It is a serious injury," Ferris told Northern Advocate.
"He's still a bit sore and will be in hospital for the next few days.
"I know Rene's pretty gutted. He was hoping to play his 50th game for us this season (he has played 47 matches), but his health is the most important thing.
"We have guys in the side who can fill in at centre, but Rene has that X-factor."
While the Steamers sit at the top of the ITM Cup 'Premiership', they will be treating Northland with a considerable amount of respect.
In fact, revenge will be on the visitors' agenda who will still be reeling from their last meeting with the Northlanders in 2010.
Any chance Bay of Plenty had of an ITM Cup semi-final appearance last year, quickly disappeared when they were defeated 36-24 by Northland.
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro,14 Simon Munro,13 Derek Carpenter,12 Aaron Bancroft,11 Bryce Heem,10 Ash Moeke,9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Eyre,7 Dan Pryor,6 Joel McKenty (c), 5 Marty Veale, 4 Bryce Williams,3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Mark Burman, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Jack McPhee, 22 Warren Dunn, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Chris Noakes, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jason Hona, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 Lance MacDonald, 10 Dan Waenga, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Carl Axtens, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Leon Power, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 Dan Perrin, 1 Pingi Talaapitaga.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Tristan Moran, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Toby Arnold, 22 Ben Smith, 23 Greg Pleasants Tate.