Hawkes Bay are in a confident mood as they prepare to take on Northland for a place in the first division this weekend.

They won their third consecutive second division title when overpowering Nelson Bays 57-14 at Napier's McLean Park on Saturday.

Their win was far more convincing than their previous two final victories, against Counties Manukau last year and East Coast in 2001.

Hawkes Bay outscored Nelson Bays nine tries to two, with their outstanding midfield combination of second five-eighths Davis Norman and centre Andy Barham scoring two each.

Four tries during the final 13 minutes of the first half were the key to Hawkes Bay's victory, as they enabled the hosts to establish a 26-0 lead at halftime.

All of the Hawkes Bay side performed well, with Michael Johnson, Rob Evans and Lua Lokotui prominent in a cohesive forward effort.

Barham and Norman were just as dominant on defence as they were on attack, while first five-eighths Tumai Edwards produced his best performance of the season and impressed with his tactical kicking in the first half.

Nelson Bays defended well during the first quarter, but after that they were completely outplayed.

Hawkes Bay coach Kieran Keane said he would have no trouble preparing his side to take on Northland in Napier.

"We will be there with bells on next Saturday," he said. "We have an opportunity to secure a berth in the first division ... it's up to us to take it."

Nelson Bays coach Balie Swart said his team were beaten by a better side.

"We missed too many tackles. It was certainly our worst game of the season."

- NZPA

NPC points table