If Damian McKenzie doesn't play another home game for the Chiefs this season, at least he sent the fans home happy.

Still owing an All Blacks stand-down week, the star first five-eighth will more than likely miss next week's clash against the Hurricanes. However, he delivered arguably his best performance in the Chiefs No10 jersey this season to steer his side to a 24-19 win over the Brumbies.

The improved game management in McKenzie's game indicated by halfback Brad Weber during the week was clear against the Brumbies. The No10 put boot to ball when the situation called for it, and put his foot down with ball in hand when the space was available.

It proved to be an important factor in what was, for the most part, a dominant Chiefs performance.


Much like they did last week in their win over the Hurricanes, the Brumbies set the pace early. While the Chiefs looked to move the ball when they were trying to attack, the Brumbies simply tried to grind away. They were finding it tough, though, with the Chiefs forward pack impressive at the breakdown to secure extra possessions.

The Brumbies' grind it out mentality did, however, lead to a fairly dull opening 24 minutes in which the only points came from a McKenzie penalty goal. However, the match opened up when Nathan Harris barged through two defenders to score from close range - the defenders clashing heads helping the cause.

After the try, there seemed to be more gaps in the Brumbies defence for the Chiefs to exploit, with the light-footed McKenzie making the most of those. Six minutes after Harris' try, McKenzie set the scoreboard in motion again with a display of playmaking brilliance. A flick pass around the back to a man on his inside sparked a fast break, and McKenzie was the benefactor.

Converting his own try, McKenzie gave the Chiefs a healthy 17-0 lead, which they carried into the break.

Much like in the first half, the Brumbies had the better of the opening play in the second period and were rewarded when winger Henry Speight went over in the corner to open their account. They were almost in again moments later, but a crucial one-on-one tackle by McKenzie on Andy Muirhead kept the visitors at bay.

The Chiefs' lead was increased when Johnny Fa'auli got a lucky bounce off the post to score, but when Jesse Parete was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, the Brumbies pounced.

With a one-man advantage, the visitors scored tries through Speight and fullback Tom Banks to make it a five-point game, but the Chiefs were able to hold on for an important win.

They'll now host the Hurricanes next weekend with a chance to claim a spot in the top four and host a home quarterfinal.


Chiefs 24 (Nathan Harris, Damian McKenzie, Johnny Fa'auli tries; Damian McKenzie 3 con, pen)
Brumbies 19 (Henry Speight 2, Tom Banks tries; Wharenui Hawera 2 cons)
HT: 17-0