The Hawke's Bay Hawks are taking flight with their best season since 2014. They're in playoffs contention sitting in fourth place, a spot they need to keep when they take on the Canterbury Rams tonight.
"We're sitting in fourth right now but the team we're competing with to locking up fourth spot is Canterbury so tonight we're just making sure we're locked in on what they do offensively and defensively," says Angus Brandt.
"They're a very very aggressive team and Sparkies really good at getting his team especially when they're in a desperate situation as we are so we'd expect them to be very motivated and very aggressive and so we have to be really on point defensively," says Zico Coronel, head coach.
The Hawks are looking at their best season since last making the grand final in 2014 against the Wellington Saints but came out second best.
"I think one of the things that we can be happy with and you referred to the morale, it's very easy to have good camaraderie and a good culture when you're 13-0 and but this team has had some adversity games where it hasn't gone as well as we would like and come games it has gone really well," says Coronel.
They've battled through a few bad years, a winless 2016 and only three wins in 2017 but are sitting on 7-6.
"I know that hurts with sponsorships and fan attendance and everything like that so if we can get back in the finals maybe some of those fans will come back and maybe some of those sponsors will come back so for the club it will be huge and then for the area itself," says Brandt.
The Hawks have already beat the Rams once this season and want to make it twice tonight in Napier.