HUNTER Wildfires coach Scott Coleman says finals destiny remains "in our hands" as they look to overcome three straight losses and secure a top-six spot in the closing rounds. Coleman is now eagerly eyeing off away clashes with West Harbour and joint leaders Norths over the next fortnight, having gradually slipped from first to equal fifth on the ladder. Hunter (50 points) were jumped by Saturday's opponents Gordon (51), going down 44-28 at No.2 Sportsground and Nicholas Dobson (calf) getting injured in the process. Only three points separate third to sixth - Eastwood (52) and Manly (50) - while Sydney University (47) and Two Blues (45) loom as potential threats. Norths and Randwick (57) are the frontrunners. "We've got to win one out of our next two games to get into finals," Coleman told the Newcastle Herald. "We've actually got to win one and probably get [at least] a point out of the other to be honest. "It's on us. We've got to turn it around, turn up and play well but both teams are really tough - West Harbour at West Harbour and Norths at Norths. "It's in our hands, we've got to get over this loss and keep working." The Wildfires (9-7) have lost six of their last nine games after opening 2023 with six wins from seven appearances. Saturday marked Hunter's second defeat to Gordon this season, pipped 22-21 at Chatswood Oval on May 27. "It's the story of where we've been the last three or four weeks. We need to knuckle down and start playing positive footy again," Coleman said. "It's very frustrating and we knew that going into this year, all other clubs were [eventually] going to get Super Rugby players back. "We had to start well, which we did. We were lucky enough to do that. Now we've just got to get going. "A good win and results go our way, we can come back. But it's up to us." Round 15 left Coleman lamenting missed chances in the first half and Isaac Ulberg's costly yellow card either side of the main break (22-7). "We had three really good opportunities to score in the first half and didn't get them through dropped ball or mistakes and they just made us pay," he said. "They also scored two tries while he [Ulberg] was off. The yellow happened with six minutes to go in the first half, they scored on the bell and at the start of the second half." The Wildfires, who picked up a bonus point courtesy of tries to Chlayton Frans, Ryan Louwrens, Ulberg and Ethan Morgan, pegged back the margin to nine points (37-28) late in proceedings. "Patchy. We were really good in parts and terrible in others," Coleman said. "They schooled us in field position and kicking game. The first half we had the wind behind us and just didn't play that great with the wind. "They were always comfortably in front and it just felt like we were playing catch-up footy." Dobson now heads to Hunter's casualty ward with Coleman saying "he'll be out for a while", but injured duo Phil Bradford (30 minutes) and Donny Freeman (20 minutes) both successfully returned via the bench. "We lose one [player], but gain two," the mentor said. Elsewhere in Shute Shield on Saturday and Manly spilt the points with West Harbour after a 17-all draw, Sydney Uni edged out Easts 38-36, Norths and Randwick beat Eastwood (34-29) and Two Blues (24-22) respectively, Souths lost to Warringah (42-32) by 10. ROUND 16: Hunter 28 v Gordon 44, Two Blues 22 v Randwick 24, Manly 17 v West Harbour 17, Sydney University 38 v Easts 36, Warringah 42 v Souths 32, Eastwood 29 v Norths 34. LADDER: Norths, Randwick 57; Eastwood 52; Gordon 51; Hunter, Manly 50; Sydney University 47; Two Blues 45; West Harbour 37; Easts 32; Warringah 31; Souths 20. MORE IN SPORT: To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.