What a difference a change in opponent makes.
Two weeks after failing to make the Super Rugby Aotearoa final, the Blues set down the most impressive marker of the opening transtasman weekend by embarrassing the Rebels 50-3 in Melbourne.
Now the reinforcements have arrived. Captain Patrick Tuipulotu, All Blacks loose forward Dalton Papalii, rookie lock Sam Darry and prop Alex Hodgman, following his three-week suspension for a high shot, are all available for selection.
The buoyant spirit that engulfed Tuesday training at Alexandra Park, as the Blues prepare to welcome the winless Waratahs to Eden Park on Saturday afternoon, was a world away from the dark clouds that gathered the two wins from six games to finish their Aotearoa campaign.
The Waratahs have lost nine straight this season, conceding 64 points (10 tries) at home against the Hurricanes last week, to present a prime opportunity to bank successive bonus point victories.
"The process doesn't change but it's the mood. We have a second chance at silverware which you don't usually get in a year. It's a chance for redemption," Papalii said, indicating he will not rush back from his medial ligament injury.
"There's still work-ons like that first but if we can play like we did in the second, we will be hard to stop."
After leading 17-3 at half time the Blues scored five of their six tries in the second half as forwards and backs combined in brilliant sweeping movements that featured basketball style offloads from Hoskins Sotutu and Zarn Sullivan before a Harry Plummer cross-field kick found AJ Lam unmarked.
To make good on their quest to chase the transtasman title, Papalii knows one off performances won't cut it.
"Backing it up week in, week out has always been a challenge for us. We can go out there and play some of the best footy we've ever played and then the next week we underestimate our opponent or go away from our plan and end up losing or having a scrappy win. We've been here before, so this whole week we're intent on not being complacent."
While the offloads dominated highlight reels, the Blues scrum finally delivered on expectations to lay the platform for their dominance. Karl Tu'inukuafe frequently popping 124kg South African tighthead out of the scrum was a sight to behold.
The Blues scrum earned five penalties, such was its prowess, and Sotutu finished one pushover try.
Having lured All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala from the Chiefs, and added injured Samoan international James Lay, the Blues scrum was supposed to be formidable during Super Rugby Aotearoa too. Expectations didn't meet reality against Kiwi opponents but, as Tu'inukuafe explains, the Blues have worked hard to address this issue and combine more as a unit.
"Ben Afeaki and Tom Coventry had a big word with the forwards as a pack – we're not just scrumming by ourselves," Tu'inukuafe said. "It wasn't just me or one of the other props, we dominated together. It was a whole eight thing. None of us could do it without them. We needed to work together and we're doing that.
"It's a huge morale booster for the lads, especially the backs. They have no idea what's going on but as soon as they see a penalty they get hyped, they love it and they play off it.
"It was disappointing not to make the final of the Aotearoa competition so we're trying not to dwell on the past, move onto better things and keep getting better. Everyone being happy is a reflection of our drive to win this transtasman competition.
"I'm not as sore because it is pretty tough playing New Zealand teams week in, week out so it's nice to play against a different style."
Tougher tests in the Brumbies and Reds await but the Blues should comfortably retain that winning feeling this week.