SCOTT Coleman has coached Hamilton to eight Newcastle and Hunter rugby union first grade premierships.
Each is special in its own way.
But Coleman took just as much satisfaction from the Wildfires' breakthrough 28-15 win over Western Sydney at Lidcome Oval on Saturday as any victory in September.
There were no wild celebrations, just a sense of contentment.
"I had to sing the team song on my own because no one knew it," the coach said. "The boys were just happy. They didn't jump around or anything. They just filed into the shed and we had a chat about what we could have done better.
"For me, the win was right up there. I know how hard these guys have worked and the commitment they have made. Some of them travel distance to be part of it.
"None of them are getting a cent. You can't fault their commitment and desire."
Only given the nod four weeks before the start of the Shute Shield, the Wildfires with limited preparation and lack of big names were expected to be cannon fodder.
For the main part the underdogs have been ultra competitive. They pushed powerhouse clubs Eastwood and Eastern Suburbs and held Manly to a draw.
Now they have a win.
"It was a good reward for the hard work the players have put in for the past 13 weeks," Coleman said. "I hope everyone at home gets a bit of belief in the program. We have been competitive in every game. When we lost [31-21] against Easts before the bye, the boys were really disappointed. At the start of the year, that would have been a good result. Being competitive is no longer good enough."
The Wildfires did it the hard way against the Two Blues.
The home side jumped out to a 10-0 lead through a penalty to Rory Garrett and converted try to NSW Waratahs centre Eel Tepai Moeroa.
The Wildfires hit back through a try to hooker Phil Bradford which was converted by Brendan Holliday.
However, the Two Blues had the final say of the half, with fullback Michael Zakhiia going over out wide.
"It was just the mistakes which cost us," Coleman said. "We made 18 unforced errors and most of those were in the first half. In patches we were brilliant, in other patches we were terrible. We tried to push too many passes."
The second half was all the Wildfires.
Co-captain Taulogo Lalaga crossed for a converted try cut the gap to a point.
Momentum had swung and fullback Chad Northcott put the visitors ahead before replacement winger Hamish McKie sealed the win two minutes from full-time.
"When we held the ball, we were the better team by far," Coleman said. "At half-time, the boys were disappointed and knew if we hung on to the ball we could come home. Halfback Mahe Fungupo had his best game for us. He was on the ball, controlled the tempo and kicked well. T (Lalaga) did a good job at containing their Waratahs centre and George Noa was strong. Our scrum and lineout were solid. Overall it was a good team performance."
The only downside was a broken arm to veteran centre Carl Manu attempting a big tackle on Moeroa.
Next for the Wildfires is a trip to Forshaw Park to take on the Todd Louden-coached Southern Districts, who went down 56-21 to Gordon on Saturday.