Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis is long odds to play in Sunday's grand final against the Rabbitohs after have scans revealed minor fractures in his left foot.
It's a devastating blow for the Bulldogs and their inspirational captain, who is now "facing an uphill battle" be fit for his final game in the blue and white according to a statement issued by the club.
The 30-year-old hooker watched the second half of his side's gritty 18-12 defeat of Penrith from the sidelines with his foot on ice after getting caught underneath a tackle involving teammate Frank Pritchard shortly before the halftime break.
"The club’s medical staff will work overtime with Michael to give him every chance of playing next week in the Grand Final but the early indications are that he is facing an uphill battle to play," the statement from the Bulldogs said.
Ennis will join Cronulla on a two-year deal in 2015, and now looks as though he'll be forced to watch a second grand final from the stands, after missing the Broncos 2006 premiership win due to a knee reconstruction.
It's a cruel but ironic blow for the talismanic skipper, as the news falls on the 10-year anniversary of the Dogs 16-13 triumph over the Roosters in 2004, which came with regular skipper Steve Price also forced to sit out the decider due to a knee injury.
The news also poses a significant selection headache for coach Des Hasler, who was forced to shift five-eighth Josh Reynolds into dummy-half against the Panthers.
That move resulted in a disjointed attacking effort in the second stanza from the Bulldogs as big man Tony Williams slotted into the halves.
Ennis's understudy Damien Cook, who played two games during the Origin period at hooker, will also come under consideration should Ennis be unavailable.