The Bay of Plenty Steamers have been a formidable attacking force in 2019.
They've scored 40 points or more in wins over Otago, Waikato and Northland and enjoyed relatively comfortable victories over North Harbour and Taranaki. Even in their two losses, to Wellington and Auckland, it felt as though they were the better side, just having an off day.
On Saturday, in front of one of the biggest crowds the Tauranga Domain has seen for some time, the men in blue and gold faced their biggest test yet against the previously unbeaten Hawke's Bay Magpies.
They passed with flying colours, cracking the half century for the second time this season and winning 51-24. The win saw the Steamers reclaim the MacRae-Shelford Bay Cup, named after All Blacks Ian Macrae and Frank Shelford who played for both unions.
It was hard to believe it was the Steamers who came into the game in second place - as underdogs as they ran in five first-half tries to lead 31-0 at the break.
The star of the show, as he has been for much of the season, was Chase Tiatia - playing his third game at second five where his increased involvement has seen him tear teams to shred this season. He finished the game with a hat-trick of tries, each as spectacular as the last.
The secret to his success this season? Enjoying the game time.
"I'm having a lot of fun out there, especially at the [Tauranga] Domain with the sun shining, it's good fun. [The crowd] was awesome, you can really hear them getting stuck into the game and it lifts the boys up.
"I'm just trying to do my role, the big boys are carrying it well up front and giving me room to play - it's all them really. I love [playing second five] but to be fair I just enjoy being on the field, playing with my mates, it's good fun."
Steamers assistant coach Mike Delany said the key to unlocking Tiatia's talent was simply to let him play his own game.
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"We leave him alone half the time, let him do his own thing. Hopefully he turns up on Saturday and does his thing but he's pretty grounded - he loves the lads and putting in a good performance for the jersey.
"He's been awesome and he's great for the squad. He brings a lot of experience and energy, he's a bit of a magician, he pulls things out of the hat. I'm happy for him, the way he's playing and he leads the team well."
Hawke's Bay fought back in the second half, scoring four tries to the Steamers' three to secure a bonus point but fall short of a win.
Delany said he was "really happy" with the first half of the match but there were still improvements to be made in terms of producing a full 80-minute performance.
"We executed what we trained [in the first half] and there was awesome energy. We love playing here at the Domain on a sunny afternoon so it was good to get a result, especially in front of the good crowd that turned up.
"The boys love a dry deck and we've been on the road for a few weeks so it was nice to get home and be able to throw the ball around, score some good tries."
Despite the win, he said it was "a little bit frustrating" to concede 24 points.
"We let them get a bonus point at the end there but we'll work on that. We'll work at closing those games out, keeping the pressure on and not letting in soft tries."
The Steamers remain in second place on the Championship table, just three points behind Hawke's Bay, but have the easier run home with games against Manawatu (5th) and Southland (6th).
Hawke's Bay's last two games are crossovers against Premiership sides Counties Manukau and Tasman.
In the curtain-raiser, Bay of Plenty Ngāwhā beat Taranaki Hokioi 24-19 to claim the Northern Region Men's B title.
Bay of Plenty 51 (Joe Ravouvou 2, Kaleb Trask, Chase Tiatia 3, Mitch Karpik, Tevita Mafileo tries; Trask 4 cons, pen).
Hawke's Bay 24 (Danny Toala, Geoff Cridge, Ollie Sapsford, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u tries; Danny McClutchie 2 cons). HT: 31-0.