Kamo have sent a huge statement to their Bayleys Premier competition rivals with an emphatic top-of-the-table victory over Old Boys Marist.
Standout performances from flanker Kane Jacobson and centre Dan Wells led Kamo to a 39-14 bonus point win, sealing their place at the head of the ladder with three rounds to play.
In front of a strong home crowd, Kamo immediately got on the scoreboard via a penalty goal from fullback Tom Herman.
That was met in equal damage by OBM first five Wiseguy Faiane straight off the next kickoff.
Both teams have impressed on the defensive end across the season and it was going to take immense attacking pressure to breach the line.
Kamo just did that through prop Todd McDowell, bustling over from a lineout drive off the back of an OBM infringement.
The game continued its back-and-forth narrative as OBM went on the charge, culminating in a slick backline move off a scrum to set up wing Renata Roberts-Tenana.
A missed sideline conversion maintained Kamo's slender lead as the game descended in a midfield struggle. Penalties, errors and big hits became the story of the half as neither side could find an opening to add to their respective accounts.
Eventually Kamo broke the impasse when quick hands out wide found a rampant Ben Berridge, who duly crossed over for the unconverted try.
A penalty goal late in the half from Faiane closed the gap to four points as a captivating spell of rugby ended with Kamo on top 15-11.
Kamo started the second stanza strongly as Jacobson imposed his will, both with ball in hand and at the breakdown.
OBM held on for dear life on the defensive end and were rewarded for their toil with a kickable penalty, which Faiane eased over to reduce the gap to a solitary point.
However, from that point onwards, it was one-way traffic in favour of the hosts.
Herman eased a 40m penalty through the uprights before another attacking trip resulted in a converted try to first five Myles Thoroughgood off a simple scrum play.
Midfield pairing Blake Hohaia and Wells were running roughshod over the OBM backline, making metres with consummate ease.
Another Jacobson burst put Kamo in attacking territory and Wells was rewarded with a try synonymous with his performance, busting through an attempted tackle to score.
Captain and halfback Mac Sykes rounded off the victory with an emphatic statement try, converted by Herman.
The 25-point win leaves Kamo on 71 competition points, 18 points clear of Hora Hora in second place.
Hora Hora moved up the ladder ahead of OBM with a 26-15 toiling win over Mid Northern, ending the title aspirations of the 2016 and 2017 finalists.
The battle for second place is now the biggest source of intrigue with a trio of fixtures to go as Hora Hora (53), OBM (52) and Waipu (51) battle for home field advantage in the semifinals.
Waipu dominated Western Sharks in their latest outing, cruising home 82-5 to extend the gap between them and fifth-placed Kerikeri.
Kerikeri's 25-16 defeat at the hands of Wellsford has crippled their chances of a semifinal berth, needing three bonus point victories and results to go their way to move into the top four.
Meanwhile Hikurangi moved ahead of Sharks in the last match of the round in a close 25-23 win over bottom of the table Otamatea.
Bayleys Northland Club Rugby results
Hora Hora 26-15 Mid Northern
Kerikeri 16-25 Wellsford
Kamo 39-14 Old Boys Marist
Otamatea 23-25 Hikurangi
Waipu 82-5 Sharks
Hora Hora 31-67 Mid Northern
Kerikeri 19-18 Wellsford
Kamo 7-3 Old Boys Marist
Otamatea 60-13 Hikurangi
Waipu 54-19 Sharks
Panguru 14-62 Awanui
Eastern - bye
Kaikohe 12-29 Moerewa/United Kawakawa
Otiria 25-19 Ohaeawai/Okaihau
Dargaville 17-29 Whangaruru
Kaihu 14-32 Tomarata
Southern 18-43 Mid Western