Canterbury gave themselves a decent chance of hosting an ITM Cup semi-final after beating Counties Manukau 38-23 at AMI Stadium on Sunday.
The five-time defending champions managed to cross for four tries, which helped the home side move above Auckland into second position.
Tries were scored by Nasi Manu, Patrick Osborne and Luke Whitelock (2) while Tyler Bleyendaal and Richie Mo'unga kicked their other points.
Counties will be looking ahead to their ITM Cup semi-final at Wellington while Canterbury and Auckland battle it out for the remaining home tie.
Tries: Manu, Osborne, L Whitelock 2
Con: Bleyendaal 2, Mo'unga
Tries: Lefau, Reidy
Con: Anufe 2
Pen: Anufe 3
Canterbury: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 George Whitelock (c), 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Joel Everton, 4 Joel Everson, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Sione Faletau, 18 Nasi Manu, 19 Jed Brown, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Rob Thompson, 22 Richie Mo'unga.
Counties Manukau: 15 Toni Pulu, 14 Lolohea Loco, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Tyrone Lefau, 11 Sione Molia, 10 Ki Anufe, 9 Kane Hancy, 8 Mark Selwyn (c), 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Johnnu Kawau, 5 Sikeli Nabou, 4 Ryan Wilson, 3 Matt Talaese, 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Sam Aiono.
Replacements: 16 Mark Price, 17 Attila Va'a, 18 Richard Mariota, 19 Seluini Molia, 20 Lucky Palamo, 21 Ahsee Tuala, 22 Bundee Aki.