Broncos prop Josh McGuire remains upbeat despite suffering a season-ending Achilles tear, cruelling his chances of Origin and premiership glory in 2015.
McGuire fell to the ground in innocuous circumstances during the 60th minute of Brisbane's 44-22 win over Newcastle on Friday night, clutching at his right ankle with one hand and slamming the Suncorp Stadium turf with the other as he realised the extent of his injury.
The 25-year-old put on a brave face when fronting media following the match, with the prospect of missing out on an Origin decider and the ladder-leading Broncos' march towards to the finals yet to sink in.
"I'm very disappointed but that's footy," McGuire said.
"It was just one of those things – I thought I got shot to be honest. But that's football and it is what it is.
"I can't turn back time so I'll just get ready for the operation and rehab."
McGuire can take solace in knowing Brisbane teammates Justin Hodges and Darius Boyd have successfully come back from similar injuries before.
"A few of the other boys have done the same over the years so I'm in the best hands with the best staff. I'm excited about getting into rehab and preparing myself for next year," he said.
"[Missing Origin III] is very disappointing but it's also disappointing to leave the boys another front rower down which is heartbreaking as well."
Brisbane has already lost forward James Gavet to an ACL injury this season and will now have to make their run for a seventh premiership without their forward enforcer.
McGuire's injury is a bitter blow for the Broncos, who will need to find a front-row replacement that can replicate something close to the 136 metres and 35 tackles per game he has produced this season.
Broncos fullback Darius Boyd, who returned from an Achilles injury almost two months ahead of schedule in Round 9, felt for McGuire after having gone through the same experience during pre-season.
"It's sad. Obviously I've done the Achilles myself and I know what he's got to go through, it's a tough journey," Boyd said.
"It'll probably take him a couple of weeks for it to all soak in and understand what happened but I'm sure he'll be right."
Boyd came off early during Brisbane's 22-point win over the Knights, twinging his groin while scoring his first Broncos' try since the 2008 finals.
However the Maroons winger alleviated any fears the injury would place him in doubt for the Origin decider on July 8.
Meanwhile Dale Copley was cleared of any facial damage after colliding with Dane Gagai midway through the second half, although the Knights have concerns over Beau Scott (shoulder) and Robbie Rochow, who has a possible broken arm.
Both players will have scans on Saturday morning to determine the extent of their injuries, with New South Wales coach Laurie Daley sure to be sweating on Scott's fitness for Origin III.