After historic wins over Tasman and Canterbury, the Hawke's Bay Magpies want to prevent an unwanted piece of history from repeating itself in Waikato's Ranfurly Shield challenge on Saturday night.
The Mooloos ended Hawke's Bay's previous reign of 11 successful defences in the final regular-season game of 2015, with then-Waikato halfback Brad Weber grabbing a hat-trick in a 36-30 win for the visitors.
Hawke's Bay rebounded to win the NPC Championship that season; however, loose forward Solomone Funaki said the squad have talked about going one better than their 2015 counterparts and securing the Shield for another summer this week.
"That team was good, but we want to be great," Funaki said.
"We want to finish the season strong with the Shield and hopefully the Premiership."
A Magpies win would all but secure the top seed and home-field advantage for the finals. with an away trip to Manawatu next week being Hawke's Bay's only remaining competitive fixture.
Waikato are second on the Premiership ladder heading into round eight – five points behind the Magpies in first.
They started the season strongly with wins over North Harbour, Wellington and Tasman but have lost three of their past four games.
That form sees the visitors at $3 outsiders to win at McLean Park according to the TAB, with Hawke's Bay $1.35 favourites.
Funaki said his teammates had prepared well for the game, with a lighter workload early in the week allowing them time to rest up after two massive games in the preceding fortnight.
He said they are highly motivated by the chance to play in front of their fans and maintain an unbeaten home record that stretches back two years:
"The boys just wanna try their best to keep the Shield here for another summer."
Funaki has missed out on a spot in the playing 23 due to the return of Marino Mikaele-Tu'u to blindside flanker, pushing Josh Kaifa onto the bench.
Namatahi Waa's injury last week means Joe 'Apikotoa is back starting at tighthead prop, with Joel Hintz covering him.
The only other change has Caleb Makene named among the substitutes instead of Tiaan Falcon.
Hawke's Bay Magpies team to play Waikato on Saturday, kickoff 7.05pm
1. Pouri Rakete-Stones, 2. Jacob Devery, 3. Joe 'Apikotoa, 4. Geoff Cridge, 5. Tom Parsons (captain), 6. Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 7. Brendon O'Connor, 8. Devan Flanders, 9. Ereatara Enari, 10. Lincoln McClutchie, 11. Jonah Lowe, 12. Danny Toala, 13. Stacey Ili, 14. Neria Foma'i, 15. Lolagi Visinia
Reserves: 16. Kianu Kereru-Symes, 17. Jason Long, 18. Joel Hintz, 19. Josh Kaifa, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Danny Tusitala, 22. Caleb Makene, 23. Ollie Sapsford