Jamal Fogarty simply thought he had a sinus infection, until a second line cropped up when he took a RAT over the break.
The new Raiders recruit took himself for a PCR test which confirmed he had fallen victim to the Green Machine's pre-Christmas COVID invasion.
He was already back home in Tweed enjoying some down time after multiple players and staff had tested positive to the virus in late December, forcing the club to shutdown early before the festive break.
But Fogarty considers himself one of the lucky ones.
"I only had a bit of a snuffly runny nose for two days, and that's all I got. I didn't have any headaches, didn't have any chest pains or sore throat or late-night fevers or any of those kind of things," Fogarty said.
"I didn't realise I had it just because I assumed it was sinus.
"I was talking to the physios here and they said they were waking up in the middle of the night with a pool of sweat in their bed and had to change their sheets. I was like, 'Was that all it was'? Touch-wood that I don't get it again but I had it very easy compared to what other people have had.
"We had a couple before the Christmas period. They've all come back healthy.
"Everyone's had different symptoms, some people were fine, some people got knocked around for a day or two then recovered well after it.
"I was able to do iso [isolation] at home [in Tweed] with a swimming pool and good backyard, and a home gym there, so I was able to do a little bit whereas if I was stuck here it would've been a lot different."
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The upshot of it all was Fogarty's first preseason with the Raiders wasn't affected, and he was able to rejoin his teammates when training resumed last week.
But the COVID shadow continues to dangle menacingly over the NRL, forcing players and staff to take a RAT every day before training, and barring them from entering indoor hospitality venues.
"It's just a matter of time before everyone gets it and obviously we've already seen other NRL clubs have had a high number of players with COVID, it's going to be like that throughout the season," Fogarty said.
"Whoever deals with those minor issues best throughout the season, and can stay on top of it and just look forward to playing footy week to week will go a long way to being there at the end of year.
"It's just about whatever we've got to do to keep the game going and whatever I've got to do to be able to train and keep this as my job. The more you look into it, the more you read into it, the harder it is and it plays on your mind.
"For me personally, I go home of an afternoon, try and recover and eat, sit on the couch and come back to training, anyway. I'm not really an outgoing person.
"We can still go to cafes if we sit outdoors which I love doing, and the other thing I love doing is playing golf which is outdoors. So the two things I love to do I can still do, so I can't complain, to be fair.
"Other blokes that if they want to go out for a beer or whatever, it'd be a lot tougher on them but for myself I'm kind of just living my normal life, to be honest."
Fogarty has settled quickly in Canberra, after moving from the Gold Coast Titans on a three-year deal.
His next goal is establishing himself on the field, partnering Jack Wighton in the halves and proving himself as the long-term replacement for George Williams.
"This month we're already doing a lot more team stuff, hopefully we can have more time to keep building that combination and understanding of what he wants to do and how he wants to play and how I can fit in there," Fogarty said.
"It's not just with Jack, you've got to build combinations with fullbacks, hookers, centres, back-rowers and even the other halves in the club.
"They don't just put two halves together and keep them together.
"We're floating and they're putting different combinations in all the time so you're always being prepared if an injury does come in the season.
"It could be Sammy Williams and Jack playing or it could be me and Matty Frawley playing. They're just keeping that option open for everyone which is good in the long run."
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