Canberra Raiders recruit Aidan Sezer channelled legendary boxing film character Rocky Balboa, urging the club's medical staff to cut his eye so he could stay on the field.
Low blows galore as Canberra topple Penrith
A couple of unsavoury incidents soured Canberra's first win of the year. Both teams also lost key players, with James Segeyaro and Blake Austin facing a stint on the sidelines.
Sezer underwent an operation on Wednesday to repair a fractured cheekbone that will keep the former Gold Coast Titans playmaker out of action for between four to six weeks.
The 24-year-old made a brilliant debut for the Raiders, scoring two tries in last weekend's 30-22 win against the Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium.
Raiders teammate Blake Austin revealed the toughness of Sezer, who was struggling to see out of one eye at halftime.
"The Raiders' club doctor came over and Aidan said, 'I can't see mate, do you want to cut it?'," Austin wrote in a column for Fox Sports.
"The answer was a pretty simple no, so he went back out on the field with half his eye sight and ended up winning us the game.
"Later I asked what he meant by 'cut it', and he said he had seen it in Rocky, when Balboa's eye swells up during a fight and they slice open the skin to drain the blood and release the swelling.
"It shocked and impressed me so much, that a guy would be willing to play through a fractured eye socket in his first game for a new club.
"He could have easily stayed in the sheds."
Sezer scored a sensational individual try in the second half to level the scores after Austin left the field with a knee injury.
"Toughness is not something that halves are known for," Austin wrote.
"He does a lot of pretty things, but it was a big play by him to even stay on the field.
"To score the match-winning try goes to show how competitive he is."
Austin is also expected to miss between four and six weeks with a medial ligament damage to his knee.
"Returning from shoulder surgery in the off-season, I was apprehensive about whether it was right before the game, then to cop a medial ligament and ankle strain in the first round of the season is so frustrating," Austin wrote.
"At the moment, a return in round five is realistic.
"But I can't kick stones about it. I look at it as a small blessing."
"It will give me another few weeks to get the shoulder even stronger so I can come back and pick up where I left off."
Austin backed rookie 19-year-old playmaker Lachlan Croker to make a strong fist of his first-grade debut against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday alongside Sam Williams.