Southern Regional Performance Centre beat their Central counterpart yesterday in the premier men's eight repechage but they will square off again in Saturday's final at the national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro.
World champion George Bridgewater helped Southern home by a small margin.
Central also had leading rowers in Carl Meyer and Eric Murray.
Finishing first and second, both crews face each other in Saturday's final, where they have to contend with the strong Auckland crew who won their heat.
Meyer, 23, had a second race, in the men's pair.
He and Hamish Bond won their repechage to qualify for the final.
Bond represented New Zealand last year at the under-23 world championships and will also be competing in the eight.
In the second men's pairs' repechage, Halberg Award winner Nathan Twaddle won easily with partner Steve Cottle.
Cottle, 21, has been working his way through the ranks.
He had competed at the world championships in the fours last year.
Former New Zealand representative Nathan Terrey put his weight behind his oar in the lightweight single to finish first in his repechage.
The second repechage saw a fine effort from Benjamin Norling, of Petone, which qualified him for the final.
Alex Malmo (Auckland) won the third with the fastest qualifying time of 8m 13.13s.
The large number of entries in the single meant Malmo would return for the semifinal today.
He will be joined by the other repechage winners - Storm Uru, currently third in the world at the under-23 level, and the busy Bond.