Four-time defending champions Canterbury flexed their muscles to overwhelm North Harbour 36-3 in a lopsided national provincial championship match in Christchurch on Saturday.
Up 10-3 at halftime, the hosts cantered in for four unanswered tries in the second spell in a performance that suggests they will in the hunt for a fifth straight title in late October.
Impressive left winger Johnny McNicholl bagged two of their five tries, with the others going to centre Robbie Fruean, No.8 Nasi Manu and reserve halfback Andy Ellis. Fullback Tom Taylor kicked 11 points.
Manu was a contender for player of the match, bouncing back from missing their midweek defeat of Auckland with a barnstorming display of power running.
North Harbour were well beaten in all departments, with just a lone penalty to halfback Bryn Hall late in the first spell their only points.
Following a 20-point loss to Waikato last weekend, they face a sizeable job to improve and challenge in the Championship division.
However, Premiership teams are placed on notice after Canterbury continued their early improvement curve in a busy start to their campaign.
They were rocked by Tasman in their opening match eight days ago before outplaying Auckland 33-11 on Wednesday night.
Manu set up their opening try to Fruean with a quick tap from next to the posts but McNicholl was a key figure in the second spell.
The young wing scored from an intercept, set up Manu's try with a nice offload near the touchline and then bagged his second after a quality team buildup.