Having already claimed the scalps of Northland, Coastline, Waikato Development and Wellington, the Bay of Plenty Lakers face what could be their toughest test yet against Otago today.

The equation for this game, being played at Puketawhero Park in Rotorua at 4pm, is a simple one. The winners will clinch the New Zealand Rugby League Championship and earn the right to play the Premiership stragglers in a promotion/relegation game.

Being from opposite ends of the country Bay of Plenty and Otago know little about each other, besides the fact that they have both beaten Wellington by the same scoreline, 22-18.

Lakers coach Paniora Daniels said having had the bye last weekend the team had spent the last fortnight working on "the little things".


"Mainly being a bit more direct in our attack and tidying up our defence. I think it's going to have to be a big defensive effort.

"I think the conditions aren't going to be that great, so if we hold the ball, play direct and push through we should be all right," Daniels said.

He said most of the squad were in teams that went all the way to the Bay of Plenty/Coastline Premiership final before beginning the Bay of Plenty representative campaign, and the long season appeared to be taking a toll on some players.

"Hopefully tomorrow when we get back on the field everyone is excited again and play with some energy."

He wanted to see more calmness and patience from his side than during their win over Wellington.

"We had our opportunities and didn't apply enough pressure. It was a tough travel down there and the same thing will go for Otago.

"We really want to get out of the blocks nice and fast. We are fine-tuning our combinations and trying to speed up our attack."

If Bay of Plenty make it through to the promotion/relegation game, it will be played in Auckland, meaning today's game is the last opportunity for Rotorua locals to get out and support their team at home.

"It's our home game and we like to have that home ground advantage and support. If you're not doing anything come along and watch what should be some entertaining footy."

Bay of Plenty team to play Otago
Kick off 4pm
1. William Cook
2. Pesini Tavake
3. Cameron Walters
4. Dylan Shortland
5. Yannis Mea
6. Johnson Peri
7. Kale Pomare
8. Ozzy Tuwhangai
9. Destry Tamai
10. Rikihana Te Rangi
11. Opeta Utanga
12. Jeremy Siulepa
13. Jason Whareaitu
14. Darcy Hunt
15. Scott Evans
16. Matt Filipo
17. Kihiroa Wihapi
18. Quentin Ryan
19. Tyrone Henderson