A place in the NZRL Championship is on the line when the Bay of Plenty Lakers take on Northland this weekend.

The two sides are playing to represent the Northern region in this year's Championship. When they met in Rotorua three weeks ago, Northland won 24-18, meaning Bay of Plenty must win by seven points or more to go through.

Lakers coach Jeremy Siulepa said his side was out-enthused in that game and this weekend's match-up was all about who wanted it more.

"The team's looking alright, we had a week off last week, but the feeling's been good this week. We need to pay our structured footy, but enjoy the game and play for each other as well, like they did against Waikato Development.

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"We just need to be clear in our roles, we've worked on having a bit of clarity around what our goal is and how we can achieve it. The boys all want to be progressing this week, so it's huge."

A fortnight ago, the Lakers played Waikato Development in a friendly and produced a resounding 52-6 victory. A highlight of that win was the Lakers' desire in defence, despite holding a comfortable lead.

"They'll need that same attitude again this weekend, if they can play like that again, I think it will be a lot different to the first game.

"Northland will be tough at home, they'll be a lot stronger than that game down here I reckon. It's about who wants it more and we have to play the way that we know how to play and give ourselves the best shot that we can.

"We can't put the ball too much into their hands and the way they play. I think in the other game, they came here to do a job and they just wanted it more than us. They got on top of us and forced more errors out of us, they played well but we know they'll be stronger and faster this time around," he said.

The game is being played at 4pm today at the Takahiwai Rugby league Club in Northland.

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