Josh Hodgson is bracing for up to two months on the sidelines in a devastating blow for the Canberra Raiders as they limp through a mounting injury toll.
Hodgson requires surgery on a fractured thumb and will meet with a specialist on Monday to assess his road back to football, with the star hooker expected to miss six to eight weeks.
The Englishman becomes the club's fourth international confined to the rehabilitation compound alongside John Bateman (eye socket), Jordan Rapana (knee) and Joey Leilua (neck).
The Raiders will be without five-eighth Jack Wighton, centre Nick Cotric and almost certainly front-rower Josh Papalii as they prepare to enter their respective State of Origin camps.
It makes the coming weeks an incredibly tough test for a Raiders outfit desperate to salvage some momentum following four losses in their past five outings.
Canberra have slipped out of the top four and now face the prospect of having seven would-be starters sitting in the stands as they look to find their way back.
Hodgson's absence will pit Siliva Havili into the hooking role for the Raiders' clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Havili is relishing the chance to slot in at hooker having played as a middle forward off the bench so far this season.
"My preferred position is to play nine. I don't take anything for granted," Havili said.
"I have to do what I do for the team and I will do my best. I clocked up some minutes last year, and I never thought I could play 80, especially in the middle, and I did that last year.
"It's something I have to take control of, my mindset, and what I can do to put myself in the best preparation for this week."
The 26-year-old is walking into a depleted starting side missing up to seven first-choice players through injury and representative selection for a road trip to Sydney this week.
Wighton's absence will likely open the door for Aidan Sezer to earn an NRL recall having been stuck behind Sam Williams for the bulk of the year.
The halves duo will have to shoulder a big load without Hodgson calling the shots for a side Havili concedes must be prepared for a brutal self-assessment this week.
"It's very hard to take in, three losses in a row. This [Cowboys] one wasn't the best, it was a mindset and attitude thing for us with our squad," Havili said.
"It just goes to show you can't take a break in this league, it's important we take what we can and move into this week with it because it is something we need to address."