Veteran Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says it's too early to tell if the Melbourne Rebels will be a genuine Super Rugby threat.
The Hurricanes, who were 2016 champions and in the finals last season, piled on the points in the second half at AAMI Park on Friday night for a 50-19 scoreline to inflict Melbourne's biggest loss of the season.
Boyd admitted after the game his team were determined not to be the first New Zealand outfit to fall to an Australian team, with the record now stretched to 33 games going back to 2016.
The Rebels started strongly and built a 19-8 lead, but two tries conjured up by All Blacks five-eighth Beauden Barrett just before halftime gave his team the lead which they never surrendered.
Boyd said while Melbourne had had a "terrific start", it was premature to make a call on their title aspirations.
"They've got some pretty tricky games coming up, against the Jaguares and then off to Africa, so I think the next three or four weeks will tell where they are at," Boyd said.
"They've had a great start but they will need to push on to stake a realistic claim."
Boyd said the Rebels' second-half fade-out against his team, and also in their round four loss to the Waratahs should be a concern for the Melbourne side.
"That's twice now that they've had good starts and haven't been able to hold on to that and turn it into a win so David (coach David Wessels) and his crew are probably sitting there saying, 'we've got part of it right - how do we get the other bit right," Boyd said.
Hurricanes skipper Brad Shields said the Rebels matched the Kiwi teams they had played this season for physicality early in the match but they expected them to run out of gas as they did.
"Definitely that first 30 minutes was just as physical as playing in a New Zealand derby but you've got to hang in against these Aussie teams," Shields said.
Barrett left the field midway through the second half with an ankle knock Boyd said it wasn't anything serious and he wanted to give replacement five-eighth Ihaia West some game time.