Karaka will be out for revenge against a suddenly in-form Waiuku Brian James Contracting in the Counties Power Game of the Week Saturday.
The home side were surprise first week losers to Waiuku back in March and coughed up the Counties Power Cup in the process.
Their horror start to the season continued through the first month as they dealt with injury concerns, player unavailability and a few disappointing performances. But Scott Penney’s side has hit their straps in recent weeks and finished the first round just six points adrift of a playoff spot.
“We are not overly happy with the way we played against them in the first round but in saying that they are playing well,” Karaka coach Scott Penney said. “They are led by some senior players coming back so we will have our hands full.
“It is not going to be easy for us but nothing has been this year so look out Saturday.”
Penney said his side still believes they can make a run to the semi-finals.
“We haven’t given in on any of that – we have been through a lot already and to make the semi-finals from the way we started we would be very happy.
“We just have to go week to week and see what we come up with.”
Waiuku coach Lawrence Lawrence is bracing himself for a fired up Karaka outfit looking for redemption for their opening week loss.
“We definitely know we got them at a pretty good time there in round one and knew at that stage there was an opportunity to win that game and we were able to do that,” Lawrence said.
“They have got a whole lot of players back and are playing really good footy.
“Our biggest strength the last few weeks has been players returning and returning to the bench and that has given us a lot of strike power at the end to finish games off.
“We are definitely a lot better than we were in round one. It helps having some really good personnel back and a bit more understanding in terms of what we are trying to achieve with systems.”
In other fixtures this weekend fourth place Bombay will host second place Manurewa Kidd Contracting, top of the table Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors is at home to Papakura Ray White while Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel hosts Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees.