It turns out Jarrod Croker was right - the Canberra Raiders only had 20 fit players.
It's why John Bateman was named in the 21 to face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart effectively ruled Bateman out on Thursday ahead of the captain's run saying the Green Machine's injury crisis left him with little choice but to name someone. Anyone.
But he did say the England international was "getting a lot closer" to playing for the first time this season after having two bouts of shoulder surgery.
Raiders co-captain Croker joked on Wednesday: "We're down on troops ... so we might not have anyone else to put in there."
They currently have eight players unavailable through injury, including Bateman, Josh Hodgson (knee) and Curtis Scott (arm).
Stuart only has 28 players in his senior squad, although the ranks are set to be bolstered by the impending arrivals of Corey Harawira-Naera and Ethan Bullemor.
The Canberra Times revealed the Canterbury Bulldogs had released Harawira-Naera and he was on his was to the Green Machine, with the Bulldogs officially confirming his release on Thursday.
Stuart was using the rest of his Project Apollo bubble to continue the development of several under-18 and under-20s players.
With the NSW Cup and the junior competitions cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus, the Raiders coach felt it was important to show some of their best prospects what it took to become an NRL player.
Stuart didn't want to interfere with that by naming one of them on the extended bench to face the Bunnies.
He didn't want to thrust them into the limelight ahead of their time. So Bateman was named instead.
"With our injuries and the COVID scenario we have in place, I've brought in a number of our younger rookies, our talent from our under-18s and 20s teams, into another development program where we are upskilling their ability to train as NRL players - to fast track their opportunity of playing NRL over the next 18-24 months," Stuart said.
"I've only got 20 available NRL players at the moment and I didn't want to name one of those younger players as 21 because they're not up to playing NRL and secondly they don't need to get ahead of themselves by reading their name in an NRL team list at this stage of their careers."
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It's hoped Harawira-Naera will be in Canberra on Friday and in the selection mix for their trip to Townsville to face the North Queensland Cowboys next weekend.
He'll join on a two-and-a-half-year deal to cover Bateman's return to Wigan at the end of the season.
Harawira-Naera wanted out from the Bulldogs after they sacked him over the Port Macquarie sex scandal during the pre-season, along with winger Jayden Okunbor.
As part of his release he'll be unavailable when the Raiders play Canterbury in round 16.
Bulldogs chairwoman Lynne Anderson said it was in Harawira-Naera's best interests to have a fresh start.
"While we made it clear to both players that what had happened was unacceptable and had caused enormous harm to all involved, we also believed that it was important to have honest conversations with both Corey and Jayden," Anderson said.
"Both were extremely contrite and understanding of the harm they had caused and apologised unreservedly.
"At the end of those conversations it became clear that while Jayden very much wanted to be given a second chance at Belmore, it was in the best interests of both parties if Corey was given a release to make a fresh start somewhere else."
NRL ROUND 11
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium, 7.35pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Jordan Rapana, 5. Semi Valemei, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead,13. Kai O'Donnell. Interchange: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Joe Tapine, 16. Ryan Sutton, 17. Harley Smith-Shields. Reserves: 18. Sam Williams, 19. Darby Medlyn, 20. Matt Frawley, 21. John Bateman.
Rabbitohs squad: 1. Alex Johnston, 2. Corey Allan, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. Jaydn Su'A, 12. Bayley Sironen, 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls, 15. Hame Sele, 16. Patrick Mago, 17. Jack Johns. Reserves: 18. Kurt Dillon, 19. Keaon Koloamatangi, 20. Troy Dargan, 21. Steven Marsters.