For Jordan Olsen and his troops, the best approach to the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final is to treat it as just another game.
The Northland Taniwha captain is just as excited to play in his first final, against Hawke's Bay in Napier tonigh,t as the fans are to watch their beloved province get this far in the competition after 24 years.
The Cambridge Blue last won the final in 1997 when they walloped Central Vikings in Whangārei 63-10, and have since lost in the semifinals in 2014, 2017, and 2018.
Speed merchants Norman Berryman, Fero Lasagavibau, first five David Holwell, loose forward Justin Collins, and 36-test All Black Norm Maxwell were in the champion Northland side in 1997.
Tonight's match will be the second between the sides this season, after Hawke's Bay came away with a win in the Ranfurly Shield challenge at McLean Park last month.
Olsen's mother and a brother will be cheering from the stands and the hooker said the support his side has received from Taniwha fans this season has been fantastic.
The team will look at a pretty similar formula to that employed in previous games in terms of technique and tactic, he said.
"Obviously it's a big game for everyone but we try not to put too much pressure on ourselves. We try to be nice and calm and that helps a lot in our preparation.
"We treat it as just any other game to make sure we don't panic before kick-off. The excitement and energy is up and everyone is in good spirits," the Mid Northern player said.
A notable exclusion from the run-on side is veteran halfback Sam Nock, who's had a blinder of a season.
He suffered a hamstring injury in Northland's semifinal win over Otago and couldn't recover in time for tonight's clash.
"Sam's played extremely good footy over the past 10 weeks and it's a shame he won't be able to play, but we have a couple of good guys who can slip into that role," Olsen said.
Will Grant from Hora Hora will play halfback, and Kerikeri's Corey Taylor has been named on the bench as the replacement No 9.
Other than Nock, head coach George Konia has named a largely predictable side that has got the job done for Northland in this year's campaign.
First five Dan Hawkins returns from injury to the starting line-up, Jone Macilai and Jordan Hyland will be the wingers, veteran Rene Ranger will pair Tamati Tua in the midfield, with Matthew Wright at fullback completing the backs.
In the forwards, Olsen will hook the scrum with the assistance of fellow front rowers Luatangi Li and Coree Te Whata-Colley. Workaholics Josh Goodhue and Sam Caird form the second row.
Hard-hitting Tom Robinson, openside specialist Kara Pryor, and No 8 Sam McNamara will be the chief combatants at the breakdown, including negating the much-vaunted Magpies rolling maul.
"Their set-piece play is right up there and it's something we want to combat because they use their rolling maul to attack. They have threats right across the park," Olsen said.
He said this year's campaign has been a bit different in that the team has built confidence in every game it played.
"In the past, we've gone into matches thinking maybe we won't win but still give it a crack. This year, the expectation is to come away with a win.
"I am confident that if we continue to build on from here, have a good pre-season next year, and carry on the momentum from this season, that will put us in good stead next year."
Kick-off is at 7.05pm.
Auckland and Tasman clash in the Premiership final at Eden Park tomorrow.