The Canterbury and Waikato rugby teams both believe they can overcome the loss of their Black Ferns players in the Farah Palmer Cup final in Christchurch this Saturday.
Canterbury are aiming for their fifth straight title, while Waikato are hoping to secure their first.
It's been another disrupted season for the competition with the break for Covid, which resulted in some teams abandoning their campaigns, while the delay also meant New Zealand's top players couldn't take part in the decider.
Canterbury scored after the hooter to beat Waikato last year in what was a fitting finale to the season. However, the 2021 competition may have lost some of it's gloss because of disruptions caused by the pandemic.
With the Black Ferns heading to Europe later this month it was decided that they needed to continue with their scheduled camps and therefore would not be available for the FPC playoffs.
Also with Auckland going into lockdown, the Auckland, Counties-Manukau and North Harbour teams were forced to end their seasons early.
Nine Waikato and six Canterbury internationals won't be playing the decider, but Canterbury coach Blair Baxter says they've been preparing for that situation.
Baxter doesn't think the occasion will be diminished.
"I hope not because the girls we've got still involved are awesome younger and older athletes with great skills so you're going to see an awesome display of women's rugby from both sides," Baxter said.
"So whether we've got Black Ferns playing or not I think it'll still be a great product to watch."
Not surprisingly the Waikato coach James Semple has a similar view, despite having more than half a team missing.
Semple says what it has done has given his remaining senior players the opportunity to stand-up. And they showed that in last weekend's preliminary final win over Wellington.
"We really thought our new leaders did an outstanding job in that area just leading our girls and delivering points that were important at the time and then the whole team jumped on board to deliver a team performance ."
Auckland and Counties-Manukau are regular contenders for the title and so their withdrawal was a major setback for the competition.
However Canterbury did get to play and beat both of those sides during the season and so winger Grace Steinmetz feels they deserve their place in the final.
"For some, especially those teams that had to pull out, it doesn't seem completely fair because they could have definitely been in this final, but at the end of the day for us we did get the chance to play every single team," said Steinmetz.
"So it is quite an interesting way to come to a final but we have definitely still done the work to get there."
Waikato's preparation this week hasn't been easy.
The Hamilton based players were forced to go into isolation in Cambridge after parts of the region went into lockdown.
However that did provide a positive according to winger and new mum Huia Harding, who was running water for the team at last year's final.
Harding has praised the Union for allowing her to have her partner and 6 month old son with her in isolation this week.
She says the extended time together has allowed the players to connect more.
"I think we didn't really realise how much we just did rugby when we're together, so it's nice to see a different side of a number of other girls, said Harding.
"I'm not the only mum, there's a few of us in the team and some with young babies as well so it's pretty cool, it's half rugby and half play group."
Canterbury's Black Ferns will be back in Christchurch to see the game, while Waikato's internationals will be watching it on tv.
Waikato captain Chelsea Alley says they had hoped to fly south to watch the game but that wasn't possible.
"I think the Waikato Black Ferns girls will organise a bit of a watch party in Hamilton, we'll stick in our little bubble there and I'm sure the amount we'll be yelling at the tv they'll feel our support from afar."
Canterbury beat Waikato this season and are on an unbeaten run that stretches back to 2018
For Waikato coach James Semple talking about last year's last minute loss in the final still sticks in his throat
"It was obviously tough to lose in the 82nd minute after a successful season.
"But it's not a grudge match and it's not a rematch of last years final because it's two completely different teams and it's a different competition because of all the stuff that has gone on this year."
The Farah Palmer Cup championship final is between Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.