"We've got to look after their heads and life after footy."
Advances in protecting players from concussion were on full display at Phillip Oval, with the Gungahlin Bulls finishing with just 11 players on the field - losing three players to head knocks.
Bulls coach Dave Howell could've been excused for cursing the concussion protocols in the 48-10 loss to Woden Valley on Saturday, but having had a few concussions in his playing days he wasn't going to take any risks.
Concussion's a hot topic in rugby league following the revelations two former top-grade players had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy - a condition caused by repeated blows to the head and is associated with depression, mood swings, short-term memory loss and dementia.
It's something the Bulls take seriously and believe they have best practice in.
With his bench completely depleted, Howell lost centre Ryan Cronin (ankle) and winger Brendan Dunn (head knock) in the final 10 minutes to finish the game two short.
Dunn and Rams flyer Caleb Malisauskas showed tremendous courage contesting a high ball, but both came from the field after a big mid-air collision.
"It does it make it hard from a coaching point of view, but I'm all for it and we've got a fair protocol in place," Howell said.
"I think our medical staff are probably the best in the league and on the front foot with all that sort of stuff, with the head knocks.
"If they say they need to come then they've got to come [from the field]. You've got to look after them. I've had plenty in my time.
"We've got to look after their heads and life after footy. It is difficult, but you've just got to manage it."
Rams coach Lincoln Withers felt for his former Canberra Raiders teammate Howell, having only had 12 fit players himself at training on Tuesday night.
One player he did have was Chevi Ellis, although the Bulls would've preferred they didn't.
Ellis terrified Gungahlin's left edge, charging over for two tries from close range before a brilliant solo effort completed his hat-trick.
He ran over the top of one Bull, showed surprising pace for a big man to run through the hole he'd punched out himself and then produced a fend before scoring in the corner.
The former Raiders under-20s player was part of a dominant Rams pack, led by Jeff Morgan, although Bulls prop Sheen Lomax worked tirelessly and deserved his try.
Cronin was Gungahlin's only other try scorer, while Cody Hodge (two tries), Steve Henderson, Luke Johnson, Liam Murphy and Jessie Taws all scored for Woden Valley.
"Chevi Ellis ... probably could've played further on. He's been up in Queensland, came back this year for us," Withers said.
"He's a really good signing for us ... he's a big body, he's played a bit of rugby.
"It's good for our team to have those blokes that can lead and the boys can get off the back of them."
The win takes the Rams to second on the Canberra Raiders Cup ladder, below the Queanbeyan Blues.
But that could change when Goulburn and Tuggeranong play on Sunday.
The Blues scored a gutsy 16-12 win over West Belconnen Warriors at Seiffert Oval, with a Matt Parsons try breaking the deadlock with 13 minutes remaining.
In the other game, the Queanbeyan Kangaroos shutout the Yass Magpies to win 10-0 at Yass.
AT A GLANCE
Woden Valley Rams 48 (Chevi Ellis 3, Cody Hodge 2, Steve Henderson, Luke Johnson, Liam Murphy, Jessie Taws tries; Lincoln Withers 4, Braden Robertson 2 goals ) bt Gungahlin Bulls 10 (Ryan Cronin, Sheen Lomax tries; Blake Robinson goal)
Queanbeyan Kangaroos 10 (K Pagura, F Tonga tries; T Williams goal) bt Yass Magpies 0
Queanbeyan Blues 16 (J Munro, S Fetuani, M Parsons tries; M Parsons 2 goals) bt West Belconnen Warriors 12 (B Loughhead, B Sione tries; B Crisp 2 goals)