Latrell Mitchell looks at a Sydney Roosters trainer and shakes his head with a grimace.
For the best part of half an hour his State of Origin hopes look to be in tatters, but he soon returns to maintain his hold on the NSW Blues' left centre spot. Mitchell is the form centre in the game and his latest two try effort is another reminder of just how lethal he is.
But as he hobbles over the dead ball line with a groin/hip injury, metres away over his right shoulder stands Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker.
The Goulburn boy who dreams of representing his state. One of the competition's most reliable players. A point scoring machine. Canberra's left centre.
Mitchell's eventual return to the fray just about douses any hope of Croker stealing his place in the Blues' line-up. But what about the other side of the park?
Blues coach Brad Fittler is coming to grips with a debilitating injury crisis ahead of his series opener.
Incumbent right centre James Roberts has been dropped to reserve grade. Raiders hopeful Joey Leilua could be finished for the season. Jack Bird is done for the year.
Croker had been floated as a player to plug the gap on the right edge - sure, it's the opposite side of the one he plies his trade on for Canberra. But why not?
The man himself says it would be a dream, however more pressing for the 28-year-old is finding a way to beat the best in the business.
"I haven't even thought about that, we're worried about Souths next week. Obviously everyone wants to do that but I'll just keep my head down and worry about playing next week," Croker said.
"It's always frustrating to lose, but there has been a couple of sides against the Roosters get that sort of score put on them early and fold in.
"To fight back was pleasing, but we've got a lot of stuff to work on if we're going to match it with teams like that."
Canberra were on the backfoot early as the Roosters laid on an early try that went just like clockwork.
The defence is sucked in, James Tedesco finds an unmarked Matt Ikuvalu on the flank, he dives over untouched after four minutes.
Moments later the game's premier fullback was at it again, splitting Canberra's defence and finding Cooper Cronk on his inside to score.
Canberra hit back via Croker, scoring against the Roosters for the fourth time in as many games.
Three minutes later the Roosters found themselves without inspirational premiership captain Boyd Cordner after he left the field dazed by a collision with Elliott Whitehead's hip.
Then came Mitchell's double and his departure from the field. The mood went further south with Roosters winger Daniel Tupou stretchered off.
The Raiders fought back through second half tries to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Michael Oldfield and Jack Wighton - refusing to roll over and die and in turn providing a silver lining.
"I've seen teams throw the towel in. But it's not in our character," Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.
"It was going to be a game that was going to have to be won in the first half. We didn't start well enough. The weight of possession and the penalty count in the first half blew us away."
AT A GLANCE
NRL round 9: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 30 (Latrell Mitchell 2, Matt Ikuvalu, Cooper Cronk, James Tedesco tries; Latrell Mitchell 4, Siosiua Taukeiaho goals) bt CANBERRA RAIDERS 24 (Jarrod Croker, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jack Wighton, Michael Oldfield tries; Jarrod Croker 4 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.