New South Wales captain Peter Nevill believes his side are not far off from returning to winning form after the Sheffield Shield leaders crashed to a home defeat against the winless Victoria on Monday.
The Vics belatedly kick-started their Shield campaign with a dominant 112-run win over the runway leaders at the SCG.
Victoria, who have won four of the past five Shields, jumped up to fifth with their first win of the season to be within touching distance of third-placed Western Australia.
Veteran paceman Peter Siddle made the most of the overcast conditions on day four to return 5-49 from 18 typically steady overs.
NSW never looked like chasing down a gettable victory target of 290 after Victoria provided a generous declaration late on day three.
The Blues won five and drew one of their six opening matches, but the second half of the season potentially shapes as a different proposition with many of their big-name players on international duty.
NSW did, however, line up with six players who have at least one Test cap to their name, including Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.
"We just need to tune-up a few key areas and get back to what we have done really well in the first half of the season, and if we do that we will start seeing results again," said NSW captain Nevill.
"It is just about forgetting about the big picture and concentrating on trying to win every game we play."
Middle-order batsman Daniel Solway was one of the few bright spots for NSW with the rookie playing a defiant knock of 66 to leave his fledgling first class average at 57.5.
"I would have liked to see a better performance chasing this total on the last day, so to fall as far short as we did is quite disappointing," said Nevill.
"The hallmark of our season has been building a lot of pressure with the ball and batsmen making a lot of runs in the top order, and neither of those elements came through in this match for us.
"We have to get back to doing things well against South Australia (on Monday)."
NSW resumed at 1-44 but lost 4-40 in the opening hour as Scott Boland (2-26) made a crucial double breakthrough to remove Kurtis Patterson (1) and Moises Henriques (10).
Seventeen-year-old Victorian debutant Wil Parker continued to impress with figures of 1-35 from 13 overs of controlled legspin for a four-wicket return in the match.
Australian Associated Press