The Hunter Hurricanes men's side fell short of their target against the Torpedoes but rallied to take confidence from two tight battles with Australian Water Polo League heavyweights Fremantle over the weekend.
The Hurricanes were aiming for wins against University of Western Australia on Thursday and Friday night but paid the price for a lacklustre start to the second clash at Lambton Pool.
Hunter defeated Torpedoes 14-12 on Thursday night but were 4-0 down early in the Friday night clash en route to a 12-6 loss.
The young Hurricanes were not expected to challenge the Mariners on Saturday and Sunday but pushed the visitors all the way in 19-13 and 12-10 defeats.
Hunter were just two down with under three minutes left in Saturday's match when a disallowed goal and a counter-attacking score helped Fremantle kick clear in the six-goal win.
Hurricanes coach Dan Marsden was disappointed with the loss to UWA but pleased with the response.
"For some reason our intensity wasn't there at the start of the [Friday night] game and they had a 4-0 first quarter and we had to play catch-up," Marsden said.
"We learned a lot from that, and to come out and play two high-quality games with good intensity for four quarters against Fremantle has hopefully shown this is how you need to prepare mentally for every game."
Spencer Burdack, 15, and Jack Hawkins, 17, made their debuts for Hunter. Mitch Robinson led with six goals on Saturday, while Jake Robinson had four in that match and three on Sunday.
The Hunter women lost 18-6 and 15-3 to Fremantle after almost scoring their first win of the season on Friday night against UWA. The Hurricanes lost 10-9 with four goals each from Julia Barton and Laura Robinson.
Barton scored three of Hunter's six goals on Saturday.