The Ōtūmoetai Eels are just one game away from making the Waikato Rugby League finals and they'll have to topple a competition giant to secure their place - but they're ready.
After beating the Ngaruawahia Panthers 22-12 in their quarter-final on Saturday, the Eels will take on unbeaten Taniwharau in Saturday's semifinal. Taniwharau have been the benchmark of the competition in 2019 winning all eight games on their way to booking the top qualifier spot and amassing 276 points in the process.
It will be a big game but Ōtūmoetai coach Grant Sundborn says his side are ready.
"We sent a clear message that we mean business. The road hasn't been easy, we have been slowly building and the boys dug deep on Saturday."
With no competition due to rep fixtures two weeks ago, the final round bye and their earned bye in the first week of the playoffs, Taniwharau have not played for three weeks.
"We will approach the game more or less the same as we did last week," Sundborn says.
"One of the things that might play into our hands is they haven't played for three weeks. I wouldn't like to be in that position."
Whether Taniwharau's break has them well rested or victims of stunted momentum remains to be seen. Taniwharau and Ōtūmoetai met in round one of the competition where Taniwharau won 26-12.
"We have a couple back from injury and we will be as close to full strength as we have been all year," Sundborn says.
"We have had a different team on the field nearly each week and have just been scraping through. But we deserve to be where we are. We are just going to focus on us, there is a bit of excitement in the club and we just have to stay level headed and focus on the task."
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Ōtūmoetai captain Dan Holmes echoed Sundborn's excitement at having a full-strength team.
"It brings the confidence out, knowing that you can go all out and can have a rest. We are feeling pumped, we have struggled with numbers over the season with injuries and availability. But it is a step up to finals footy, and the boys are ready to go," Holmes says.
Holmes says his team are capable of tipping over Taniwharau.
"Our mindset is we have a job to do and we have the team and the players. It is about executing our game plan and we know if we can minimise mistakes the rest will come. We just have to get out there and do it.
"Our strength is the mentality of the boys, we don't give up, we probably have one of the smallest sides in the competition but it is the heart of the team that has got us here."
The loser of the game will get a reprieve and take on the winner of the weekend's other semifinal between Ngaruawahia Panthers and College Old Boys.
Waikato Rugby League Competition premier semifinal draw for Saturday:
Taniwharau v Otumoetai Eels, Hamilton - 3pm kick off.
Ngaruawahia Panthers v College Old Boys, Hamilton - 3pm kick off.