Northland will be itching to get a bit of revenge on Manawatu in the latest week of the Mitre 10 Cup.

Last year they went down 34-27 in a nail-biting season opener but have made huge strides that have them primed for their battle with the fellow Championship outfit.

The likes of second five Jason Emery, wing Ambrose Curtis and first five Otere Black were prevalent last time they met and could all potentially have an impact on this year's battle.

Northland have largely stuck with the team that were beaten 31-22 by North Harbour, with only three changes made to the starting lineup.


Blake Hohaia comes into second five, shifting Jack Goodhue to centre and Rene Ranger to the bench, while they've gone with a different locking partnership in Josh Goodhue and Josh Larsen.

Northland will be wary of Manawatu, who sit five points back of the Taniwha in fourth place on the Championship ladder.

With names like Kurt Baker, Black, Emery and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Manawatu will be more than formidable.

Manawatu come into the game with just the two changes to their lineup.

Turbos coach Jeremy Cotter has stuck mainly to the winning formula that saw them come back to defeat Waikato last week.

Wing Willy Ambaka is replaced by Curtis, while halfback Kayne Hammington has a week off allowing last week's super sub Jamie Booth to get his first start of the season.

Black returns on the bench after missing last week with illness, while fellow first five-eighth Sam Malcolm is set for his first appearance as a substitute halfback.

Derren Witcombe, in his return as coach, has shown a liking to developing combinations and depth, which is shown particularly in the loose forwards as Jaycob Matiu, Dan Pryor and Jack Ram will again form the starting trio.

Add to that Kara Pryor and Murray Douglas on the bench as well as the likes of Michael Faleafa and Matt Matich, who aren't in the 23 for this fixture, and Northland has potentially the deepest core of loose forwards in the competition.

Combinations are also a big thing in the front row and the outside backs.

Ross Wright, captain Matt Moulds and Ropate Rinakama will form the front row for the third straight game while back three Solomon Alaimalo, Jordan Hyland and Jone Macilai will combine for their fourth game in a row.

Sam Nock and Dan Hawkins also have formed a great partnership as halfback and first five, pairing up for four of Northland's six games.

The match kicks off at 7.35pm tonight.

Manawatu: Kurt Baker, Newton Tudreu, Lewis Marshall, Jason Emery, Ambrose Curtis, Jade Te Rure, Jamie Booth, Brice Henderson, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Jackson Hemopo, Tom Parsons, Michael Alaalatoa, Tim Cadwallader, Fraser Armstrong.
Reserves: Tom Crozier, Tuki Raimona, Sean Paranihi, Liam Mitchell, Harrison Brewer, Sam Malcolm, Otere Black, Hamish Northcott.

Northland: Solomon Alaimalo, Jordan Hyland, Jack Goodhue, Blake Hohaia, Jone Macilai, Dan Hawkins, Sam Nock, Jaycob Matiu, Dan Pryor, Jack Ram, Josh Goodhue, Josh Larsen, Ropate Rinakama, Matt Moulds (c), Ross Wright.
Reserves: Jordan Olsen, Chris Apoua, Phil Kite, Murray Douglas, Kara Pryor, Matty Markwick, Peter Breen, Rene Ranger.

Head to Head:
Played: 31 (1952-2016)
Manawatu wins: 12
Northland wins: 17
Draws: 2
Last match: Manawatu 34-27 - August 19, 2016 in Whangarei (Mitre 10 Cup)
Last Northland win: Northland 77-8 - August 15, 2010 in Whangarei (ITM Cup)
Biggest Manawatu score: 42-17 - September 13, 2015 in Palmerston North (ITM Cup)
Biggest Northland score: 77-8 - August 15, 2010 in Whangarei (ITM Cup)
Biggest differential: Northland by 69 (77-8) - August 15, 2010 in Whangarei (ITM Cup)