Blink and you'll miss it. Waikato are running hot out of the gate in the Mitre 10 Cup and are proving more than economical with their exciting brand of rugby, but perhaps the biggest gut check is mere days away.
In the end Waikato beat North Harbour by a comfortable 41-19 margin, and it was a fast start on another stunning Saturday afternoon in Hamilton that was most pleasing for the hosts.
Meanwhile, North Harbour are a side all but written off already, but Kieran Keane and his men did have to content with a number of late changes after some team personnel size up on the two-hour bus ride from Auckland's North Shore.
By kick-off at 2.05pm, much of the bench named in the original squad had to be hastily changed, and the disruption certainly showed as but for a strong driving maul, North Harbour were dispatched with relative ease by a Waikato side that is clearly in sync on the offensive side.
Scoring near a point a minute in the opening quarter, Waikato had already secured what could be another critical bonus point to head into the sheds with a more than manageable 29-12 halftime lead.
But as was the case a week ago, there are still some big signs that Waikato are still a young side that has plenty to work on.
In contrast to a fizzing first half effort, Waikato seemingly lost a lot of balance after the break and were lucky to not have been on the end of a North Harbour comeback which always felt like a threat, especially when the hosts were forced to defend against the driving maul.
It was enough to have Waikato coach Andrew Strawbridge feeling nervous late into proceedings, recalling that infamous loss to the same side a year ago where ironically his men also finished with 36-points and in a seemingly winning position late.
Being able to show some impressive goal line defence, coupled with the hard work being put in behind the scenes with players still young in their respective careers has left Strawbridge feeling happy with what is resulting in good collective buy-in from the team thus far.
"I'm happy that we've been able to string a couple of performances together," Strawbridge said.
"We focus a lot on the process leading up to game time and it's crucial that we can link the two together because it's that consistent process which aids the ability to compete in the weekends."
That collective approach is clear in parts of Waikato's go forward game that is proving to show an increased level of commitment as players get in good positions and run the right support lines, but patience must be a big factor in parts of what needs to be worked on moving forward, as was evident again in a scrappy second half.
Waikato captain Luke Jacobson felt the effects of the bruising physical encounter but was pleased with the fast start but said that remaining firmly in focus will be a big talking point in the group.
"We wanted to get out and stamp a mark on the game early on so I'm pleased we did that," Jacobson said.
"I thought we were a bit patchy in some of our play because we drifted in and out of focus a little bit but I'm confident that we can find a few things that will help us get up over what will be a really strong Tasman side."
Waikato will face that strong Tasman side this coming Saturday.
• Michael Pulman is a freelance journalist based in Hamilton and covers rugby, cricket and social issues.