That was Blues coach Leon MacDonald's message after his side's 27-23 DHL Super Rugby Pacific win over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Good Friday.

It may have ended 18 years of misery in Christchurch and eight years since their last win in Auckland over their long-standing rivals, but it was only a round-robin game, not a final. That final remains the prize.

He said the job wasn't done as they prepared to head to Australia to play the Fijian Drua in Melbourne next weekend.

The win represented a triumph over the 'sleepy moments' that have bedevilled Blues' sides in the past. 

Those moments were becoming reducing. Those teams who lapsed in the past would also have lost on Friday.

MacDonald said the win was a monkey off the Blues' backs.

"We've come here with high hopes the last couple of years, and walked away after a bit of a hiding. Today, we fronted from the start. We had a good preparation week, our leaders stood up, and it felt like we earned the win," he said.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson congratulated former teammate MacDonald and his Blues side for their gritty win.

"They took opportunities earlier and showed they were desperate after 18 years to come down here and turn the tide which they did."

"We threw everything and still had opportunities – what a game," he said.

Robertson didn't think the Crusaders left their chance too late. They had a chance with a try in the corner to lock Dominic Gardiner, but it was snuffed out by the Blues' defence a few minutes from the end.

"They [the Blues] were disciplined and kept getting up, so you've got to give it to them.

"We probably could have started better and been a bit better disciplined. Ironically, we probably played better with a couple of guys in the bin," he said.

"That's the irony of it, but it hurts."

Robertson had no issues with lock and captain Scott Barrett's red card for a shoulder to the head of Blues prop Alex Hodgman.

Barrett had to be better technically, he said.

His likely suspension could have been a concern, but All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock is to return next week, while Zach Gallagher had impressed in his outing.

Robertson said the 18-year win record over the Blues in Christchurch would have been a nice one to retain, but the loss was a chance for reflection on what it takes to maintain success.

They would learn from the loss.

"There's a lot more to happen in the next few weeks," he said.