Chiefs scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow believes that his team's defence will have to set the tone in their final showdown with the Sharks.
The Chiefs showed plenty of defensive intent in their semifinal victory over the Crusaders last week which set up their home final in Hamilton on Saturday, and Kerr-Barlow believes that a similar effort will be key to disrupting the travel-weary visitors.
The 21-year-old halfback has enjoyed a break-out season behind the Chiefs scrum this year, and has impressed with his physicality on defence which he believes will be vital to knocking the Sharks off their stride early in the match.
The Chiefs' speed off the line against the Crusaders saw them disrupt the seven-time champions, and reflecting on that performance Kerr-Barlow said that their communication and ability to sustain their effort for 80 minutes had been vital.
He told NZ Newswire: "It wasn't the first 20, it was the whole 80 minutes. Right at the end the boys defended magnificently. We held our composure and forced a mistake out of them [Crusaders].
"It happens because everyone's talking and when everyone's too tired to talk, someone else is talking. The more voice out there, the more intensity you have," he said.
The livewire scrumhalf said that his team will need to grab the early ascendency by asserting themselves as they have all season in what will be their first ever home final.
"I'll know how we're going to go in the first five minutes. All year we've made dominant tackles, it's been a feature for us apart from in the last couple of round robin games.
"We can't get carried away, we've got a final to play, there's no room to let up," he said.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said that he will give his captain Criag Clarke as much time as possible to recover from his knee injury, and revealed that he has a 50/50 chance of playing at this stage.
"He'll be on light duties till about Thursday when we'll make a decision.
"While he was warm he still got around pretty well, so if we can get it to where it was last Friday then we'll look at maybe injecting him, strap it up and get him back out there," Rennie said.