Pāpāmoa Bulldogs and Ōtūmoetai Eels have had contrasting build ups to this weekend's Tauranga derby in the Waikato competition.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs were beaten 40-16 by Turangawaewae in a match Bulldogs coach Jock Nicholson says could have been different.

"It was another tough one. It is about being mentally up for the game and playing consistent footy."

Turangawaewae led 22-16 with 10 minutes remaining when the Bulldogs appeared to have scored a try, but it was disallowed due to a double movement.

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"Our guys had lapses in the last 10 minutes and their big boys went through a couple of tired defenders. [Turangawaewae] were up for it, their home support was unbelievable and it shows the importance of being at home. They were the better team on the day and we just have to suck it up."

Nicholson says his side will be working on defence this week.

"It is the mental side of things, we need a bit of belief that we can play at that level. We have got to be able to play at that level under pressure. We are training well, but we have to transfer that to how we play. We get clunky at times.

"We have young players that are still developing their game and we have some rugby players that have converted, and that takes time."

Nicholson says the fixture against cross-town rivals Ōtūmoetai is one both clubs look forward to.

"It has been a really good rivalry between our two clubs. They have been the benchmark of teams in Tauranga for years. We have had some good close battles and there is always something a little bit extra in the game."

Ōtūmoetai beat Pāpāmoa in a pre-season fixture earlier this year and Nicholson wants his side to improve, but a result is also important for their season.

"We need two points and we need them badly. We have to make sure we are disciplined, and focus and we also have to play smart and make sure we are not too emotional."

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Ōtūmoetai may be rested but also have not played together for three weeks – coming off the representative weekend, where the two clubs combined to form the Coastline team, and the bye.

Waikato Rugby League results

Premier Grade:

Ngaruawahia Panthers 50 Hukanui 6, Taniwharau 66 Hamilton City Tigers 0, Turangawaewae 40 Pāpāmoa Bulldogs 16, College Old Boys 44 Hornets 22.

Reserve Grade:
Taniwharau 42 Hamilton City Tigers 16, Ngaruawahia Panthers 26 Ngaruawahia Lions 22, Turangawaewae 24 Pāpāmoa Bulldogs 16, Ōtūmoetai Eels 26 Te Awamutu 16, College Old Boys 24 Hornets 20.

Saturday's draw

Premier Grade:

Pāpāmoa Bulldogs v Ōtūmoetai Eels, Hukanui v Taniwharau, College Old Boys v Hamilton City Tigers, Turangawaewae v Hamilton Hornets, Ngaruawahia Panthers the bye.

Reserve Grade:
Pāpāmoa Bulldogs v Ōtūmoetai Eels, Ngaruawahia Lions v Taniwharau, College Old Boys v Hamilton City Tigers, Turangawaewae v Hamilton Hornets, Te Awamutu Firehawks v Ngaruawahia Panthers.