Pride in the Northland jersey was evident on the weekend as the region's men's and women's rugby teams did battle in their respective competitions.
The women were up first as the Kauri travelled to the west coast to take on the Taranaki Whio in a Farah Palmer Cup championship fixture on Saturday afternoon in Inglewood. After the Kauri secured their first ever competition win the week before, the Northland team was high in confidence and it showed.
Despite a error-riddled match from both teams, Northland were comfortable for most of the game, eventually winning 22-12. A powerful and experienced forward pack did much of the work for the visitors as a shaky Whio outfit couldn't repel a motivated Kauri squad.
Read more: Kauri complete second win in FPC
Just hours afterward, the Northland Taniwha kicked off against Wellington in the capital and continued their record of starting well to take the lead with an early try to hooker Paddy-Joe Atkins.
However, Wellington took the initiative and the lead from then on and ran out to a 57-36 win in a whirlwind finish which saw five tries scored inside the last 15 minutes of the game.
Read more: Taniwha toppled by impressive Lions outfit
The Kauri's second ever win in the FPC was a great accomplishment for their first ever season and backed up a great performance against North Harbour last week.
"We didn't play as well [as we could have], but still came away with the win," Kauri head coach Cheryl Smith said.
"To get two wins out of two games is awesome for the team and as I said to [them], who would have thought Northland would be sitting at number three on the table, first year in the competition, you've got to be pretty happy with that."
The win did move Northland to the top three of the table with one regular season round to go against Tasman in Whangārei on Saturday.
Smith said Saturday's win was marred by a lot of simple errors and poor connections which hindered her team's progress up the field.
However, buoyed by a great performance from the Northland women's under-18 side which won 65-14 against the Taranaki under-18 team in the curtain-raiser, Smith said she was glad to see her team turn up when they needed to.
"When they needed to dig deep, they did and that was the pleasing part of the game, they didn't just fall back on their heels... because Taranaki came back really strong."
After Otago's 90-nil demolition job on North Harbour yesterday, Northland will hold third-place on the table ahead of Saturday's Tasman game.
The FPC finals format will see the top two championship teams, which will be Hawke's Bay and Otago, advance to the semifinals while the remaining four teams play off in quarterfinals.
Should Northland beat Tasman, it will ensure a home quarterfinal most likely against Taranaki. Northland take on Tasman at 2pm on Saturday at either the Trigg Sports Arena or Semenoff Stadium.
While the men's result was another disappointing one on defence, it showed a certain strength and confidence rarely seen this season. Still under an unforgiving injury cloud, the Taniwha held their own in patches against an in-form Lions team.
Taniwha head coach Derren Witcombe said he was very proud of his team's performance after a tough 2019 campaign so far.
"We want to enjoy everything we do and have a 'nothing to lose' attitude and I think we ticked those boxes [on Saturday]."
Witcombe said the team spoke throughout last week about how the squad wanted to show the pride and desire the players had in representing Northland.
"I think it's always been there, some things went our way [on Saturday] which hasn't happened all season, but it's the fight we've always had and it just really showed."
While he commended dynamic number eight Aorangi Stokes on a spirited performance, Witcombe said a number of players deserved congratulating for what he considered their best games in the Taniwha jersey.
In less pleasing news, inspirational forward Jaycob Matiu was seen limping from the field on Saturday. Witcombe confirmed Matiu was injured and said he would know more in the coming days.
Northland next play Tasman at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on Sunday, kickoff at 2.05pm.