HUNTER Wildfires coach Scott Coleman is confident a win is "not far off" after his team's second successive Shute Shield defeat, 23-3 to Northern Suburbs at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.
The Wildfires trailed 10-3 at half-time and were in the contest up until the 70th-minute mark, when the visitors wrapped up the victory with two late tries.
"It was a bit of fitness, but they also got a bit more ball, a bit of field position, a couple of lucky calls at the scrum, a couple of penalties," Coleman said.
"But full credit to them, they were the better side. We've just got to be a bit more clinical with our little one per-centers."
The scoreline would suggest it was an improved defensive performance from Newcastle after their season-opening 56-24 loss to Sydney University, especially against a Norths team who had thrashed Penrith 73-0 in round one.
After an influx of new players in the off-season, Coleman realised it was always going to take time for them to jell, but he is hoping for a confidence-boosting win in Saturday's clash with West Harbour at Drummoyne Oval.
"It takes a bit of time to develop that trust and combination with your teammates," Coleman said.
"We're probably two or three weeks away from our best. We're definitely improving.
"There's no easy games.
"We're not far off a win, because we're definitely getting better and better with each performance."
West Harbour have lost their first two games, 52-17 to Randwick and 57-15 against Sydney Uni.