It has been dubbed "murderers row" – the luck of the draw, or lack thereof, for two Tasman Tanning Division 1 teams to have to play all the other semifinal contenders in consecutive weeks on a very congested points table.
Cross town rivals Dave Hoskin Carriers Marist and Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau are both meeting each other along the row on Saturday – Marist just starting the gauntlet after picking up the obligatory five points against bottom-table Harvey Round Motors Ratana two weeks ago.
Marist do not need reminding just how painful the row can be –as last season under the previous Premier format they played in virtual sudden death conditions nearly every week, and went from the high of beating eventual champions McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu in Ohakune one week, to narrowly losing their final game at home against Byford's Readimix Taihape, missing the top four at the final gasp.
Kaierau, meanwhile, had a great start to their trip down the row by beating Waverley Harvesting Border in the last minute in Waverley two weeks ago, and with the prospect of playing Ratana at the end of the round-robin, the calculations suggest a victory on Saturday and then a healthy dose of bonus points, even if they can't win away against Ruapehu and Taihape, might just pull them into their first top grade semifinal since 2012.
It should make for a big match atmosphere at the Country Club, as Kaierau are hosting their Old Timers day, although when it comes to festive occasions, Marist have crashed the party before – like Kaierau's 125th Anniversary game in 2016.
"There's no easy games from here – every game is important to us," said Marist coach Marty Bullock.
"We've got a couple of little niggles out of the rep trial."
Most of Kaierau and Marist's key players were team mates for Metro in the Game of Three Halves last week, where lock Sam Madams put himself in the backline as a distributor in the third half and winding up with a sore neck.
Key midfielder Josaia Bogileka missed the trial match with a shin injury and is likewise doubtful.
It will be a test for two young and talented backlines who have the habit of brilliance one minute, hair-pulling mistakes the next.
If you played keen, you stood out.
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Marist players like Jamie Lee Robertson, Emitai Logadraudrau, Ioane Aki and Luke Foster will need to make their moments count out wide.
However, they have all had plenty of time to size up the likes of Ethan Robinson, CJ Stowers, Pene Vui and Karl Pascoe – having played with them in Metro.
"The boys know each other pretty well," said Bullock.
"When you get Kaierau and Marist together, no-one wants to lose.
"There won't need to be much said to the boys."
Much could come down to who is banging the ball through the uprights with consistency – as Marist have used several goal kickers in Haze Reweti, Ricky Alabaster, and key backline veteran Peni Nabainivalu.
For Kaierau, while Robinson can step up if need be, it is Scott's accuracy that is most prized, as his team was out-scored for tries not only in the Border win, but when Kaierau defeated Marist 35-31 at Spriggens Park in the season opener in April.
Bullock knows June rugby is a lot different to early autumn, with muddy conditions underfoot.
"[April] was almost a preseason match in some regards, [but Kaierau] proved themselves on the day. It's an arm wrestle."
The x-factor for Kaierau could well be the arrival of hard running and ball-distributing prop Raymond Salu (Epati), adding some much needed teeth to the front-row, while in the loose forwards, Marist will look to veteran Bradley Graham to hold sway.
If Madams can't play or is not 100 per cent, then Brad O'Leary takes on added responsibilities at lock against the quality Kaierau pair of Josh Lane and Matt Ashworth.
Kickoff is 2.30pm for the feature game.
There will be a likewise tense atmosphere up at Dallison Park in Waverley as Border, stung by the Marist loss, have to face up to the undefeated Ruapehu, while knowing they have to finish the round robin with away games to Marist and Taihape.
Taihape suffered black frustration in their penalty-ridden loss to Ruapehu two weeks ago, and will be hunting maximum points when they head down to the Pa to meet Ratana.
Division 2 and Division 3 rugby will also resume after a week's break.