The Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd believes locals may have over-estimated New Zealand's domination of the Super Rugby competition.
Boyd's side takes on the Crusaders in the top of the table clash in Christchurch tonight.
In recent weeks the other New Zealand teams have dropped down the table while the Crusaders and Hurricanes have struggled to put away some of the Australian and South African teams.
Boyd says while New Zealand teams are still well placed, come play-off time the table may look a bit different to what it does now.
"We can expect some good runs from some of the other teams late, simply because if you look at the draw pretty much most of the games left are local derbies so there's going to be dog eat dog going on here I'd say."
The Crusaders top the standings with 46 points, while the South African and Australian Conference leaders, the Lions and Waratahs are second and third with 36 and 31 points.
The Hurricanes have 45, while the next seven teams, the Chiefs, Highlanders, Jaguars, Sharks Rebels, Bulls and Stormers are split by just eight points.
The top team in each of the three conferences qualify for the quarterfinals, as do the next five teams with the best records across the three conferences, known as wildcards.
The conference winners and best wildcard team will host the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile Boyd doesn't think tonight's game against the Crusaders will be a season defining match.
The Hurricanes have five games left and the Crusaders four.
Boyd doesn't think the play-off picture will be decided by this match.
"If the Crusaders win they're still only a few points ahead of us and if other teams continue to win I think either side is still catchable and the Crusaders still have a bye."
"As it sits right now you'd say it's a one versus two battle, but you can't predict that's going to be the case in three or four weeks time."
In the other matches this weekend involving New Zealand teams the Chiefs host the Waratahs, the Highlanders are at the Reds, while the Blues have a bye.