It's an injury that normally happens in a car crash. Or if you fell flat on your face on concrete. Not so much a footy field.
And Sia Soliola knew straight away he'd done something serious. He knew he wasn't concussed, but his face felt like it was on fire.
The 33-year-old suffered what's called a Le Fort fracture, with a crack stretching across the skull just above the upper teeth. The X-ray looking like something out of a horror movie.
He'll get a few more metal plates in his head to match the one he had from a broken cheekbone five years ago. The time he had to drive home from Townsville because he couldn't fly.
It's no wonder he's set to spend three or four months on the sideline, with Wednesday's surgery potentially ending his season.
That's all from what looked like an innocuous head clash. Well, as innocuous as a clash of heads can be. Dragons prop Blake Lawrie slamming into him in a tackle.
It left him with a "dull ache", but nothing crazy. And he didn't need any medication. Not before he lies down on the operating table at least.
"The only complication was my previous injury where I fractured my cheekbone, just to take that [plate] out and reattach more plates in," Soliola said.
"Basically it's a thing you'd get in a car crash and hit their face really hard.
"Another example they gave was if someone fell flat face first on cement.
"I knew I'd done something. I knew I wasn't concussed - because I knew where I was, I knew exactly what happened, I knew exactly what I was doing seconds before that.
"It's just my face was on fire from the pain. As I was running I could feel the grinding of the bones inside and that's how I knew I'd probably done something."
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Post surgery, Soliola will have a better idea of how long he'll be out for.
The Raiders aren't expecting him back, but are crossing their fingers he will be.
He'll be doing everything he can to play again in 2020. Three months would be the start of the NRL finals.
"It's a tough one to say. To be safe everyone gives about the 3-4 month mark for one of these injuries," Soliola said.
"When I wake up [on Wednesday] we'll probably get a different gauge of where we're at.
"Fingers crossed. If there's anything I can do to try and get back on the field as quick as I can I will.
"I just really don't want to miss out."
Despite all that, it hasn't shaken Soliola's positive outlook on life.
He's already thinking of ways to have a bit of fun - like seeing which fast food outlet's meals blend the best. Given he won't be eating solids for a while.
Although he's not sure how it will go down with his kids if he starts trying to blend their chicken nuggets.
"I could look at all the fast food restaurants and see maybe what was their most popular meal and blend them all up," Soliola said.
"Maybe one week I could blend up Maccas, just for a bit of fun. I'll probably feel like KFC one week. Domino's another and see how it goes.
"I guess I'll be on the soups and the purees, custards, yoghurts. I'll definitely be on a soft-food diet for a little while."
The veteran of more than 300 first grade appearances, across both the NRL and English Super League, is off contract at the end of the season.
He wants to play on next season. And he wants to do it in Canberra.
Talks were already under way to extending his time with the Raiders into a seventh season since joining them from St Helens.
Soliola was unconcerned about the timing of the injury so late in his career.
"It's still early stages. My manager's been in contact with them just to have a conversation, just to express that I wanted to continue playing and preferably at the club," he said.
"I understand the club is in a situation where they've got to manage a few things beforehand.
"I'll probably hear from them again further down the track once I know a little bit more about my injury. The club have been great."
Soliola was confident the Raiders had the forward stocks to cover not only his own absence, but also the long-term losses of Corey Horsburgh (foot) and Emre Guler (ankle).
It couldn't come at a worse time, with the Green Machine facing the Melbourne Storm, the Sydney Roosters in a grand-final rematch and the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a tough three weeks.
So depleted are they, the Raiders have been talking to other clubs and player managers about the possibility of signing some extra depth for their middles.
But Soliola felt that tough run could turn out to be a positive that helps get the best out of everyone at Raiders HQ.
Including debutant Kai O'Donnell, who will play his first NRL game against a Storm pack boasting big boppers like Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tino Faasuamaleaui.
"Any team that plays Melbourne, the Roosters ... the top teams it doesn't matter who you field everyone just seems to grow an extra leg because you know you're playing against the benchmark," Soliola said.
"That's always been the mentality and I guess that's why the Raiders have been so successful for the last four or so games against Melbourne, because they've been really prepped knowing they're going to be in a for a really tough 80-90 minute match this weekend.
"You have to be physically and mentally and emotionally ready to play these teams."
NRL ROUND NINE
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm at Canberra Stadium, 7.35pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Michael Oldfield, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (c), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joe Tapine. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Kai O'Donnell, 16. Ryan Sutton, 17. Jordan Rapana. Reserves: 18. Tom Starling, 19. Matt Frawley, 20. Darby Medlyn, 21. Curtis Scott.
Storm squad: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Marion Seve, 3. Justin Olam, 4. Paul Momirovski, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Ryley Jacks, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Christian Welch, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, 16. Tom Eisenhuth, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Reserves: 18. Darryn Schonig, 19. Cameron Munster, 20. Brenko Lee, 21. Nicholas Hynes.