Dan Hawkins' return from injury and evergreen Matt Wright pulling on the Taniwha jersey after a year-long hiatus are among two changes to Northland's starting XV in their clash with Countries Manukau.
The match at the Navigation Stadium in Pukekohe tomorrow
will be the last game of round three of the Mitre 10 Cup.
With a win and a loss under their belt, Northland will aim to upset the Steelers boasting the likes of former All Blacks' skipper Kieran Read in front of their home fans before hosting Ranfurly Shield holders Taranaki in Whangārei next weekend.
The key is for them to be mentally stronger, more accurate and composed. And not just by a little bit— by quite a lot.
In defence, the chief combatants will have to act more like a thumper than a scragger in the art of bringing players down.
The hosts may have a plan but Northland has to remind them of the famous Mike Tyson one-liner: "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth."
In rugby parlance, that means the team that takes the game wins the game.
After a heavy loss against pacesetters Tasman Mako last week, Northland's head coach, George Konia, said his side has had the luxury of training for the full week, unlike the short five-day turnaround after round 1.
"We've utilised the week and are excited about the opportunity to play this weekend. Counties have got a big forward pack, they're well-coached and have threats right across the park.
"Our focus is to be accurate. If we have to make a tackle, we have to execute well, and if we have to carry strongly, we'll do that, and the same in other aspects of our game."
Konia said the forwards had a good debrief about the scrum where Tasman had the upper hand and were confident of an improvement there.
Northland's loose forward trio, Tom Robinson, Kara Pryor, and Sam McNamara, has again been picked to show the sort of aggression, dynamism and explosive power that proves those who come into contact should never carry the ball so upright.
Robinson will play his blazer game.
The three need to use their innovative ability to support their own body weight, latch on
to ball and snaffle possession at tackle situations and to have relentless capacity to drive their shoulders into ball runners and hit them with the sort of force that knocks the air clean out of them.
Scott Gregory picked up an injury and makes way for Wright who, Konia said, has earned the right to play fullback after missing last year's campaign.
Hawkins brought the much-needed experience and the team backed him to lead Northland's attack on Sunday, Konia said.
He said Rene Ranger, who has failed to fire so far but was beginning to grow in the game after coming back from injury, will partner Blake Hohaia in midfield.
Of the other midfield backs, Tamati Tua is out injured while Jack Goodhue, who featured in the first match against Manawatu, isn't available for selection due to All Blacks duty.
After starting the first two games, lock Sam Caird is on the bench with Fijian Temo Mayanavanua partnering regular Josh Goodhue in the second row.
Veteran Sam Nock starts his third match on the trot at 9 and Pisi Leilua and Jordan Hyland will play wing.
Luatangi Li, skipper Jordan Olsen, and Coree Te Whata-Colley will form the front row.
Paddy Atkins, Ross Wright, Kalolo Tuiloma, Caird, Gregory, Wiseguy Faiane, Saimoni Uluinakauvadra, and Will Grant are the reserves.
Tuiloma will make his debut if he takes the field.
The match kicks off at 4.35pm.