North Queensland forward Shaun Fensom has undergone surgery on Monday after suffering a broken leg early in the Cowboys' 34-6 NRL grand final loss to Melbourne at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Fensom was taken from the field in a medicab in just the third minute of the premiership decider after fellow forward Ethan Lowe fell on his teammate's leg while both players tried to make a tackle.
The former Canberra Raiders player was taken to Royal Prince Alfred hospital where he will undergo open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) – a surgical procedure to fix a severe bone fracture, or break.
The open reduction will realign the bone fracture into the normal position, with internal fixation likely to require steel rods, screws, or plates to keep the bone fracture stable.
The incident reduced the Cowboys to just three men on the bench and threw their forward rotation into disarray.
"Being a man down after three minutes puts you under a lot of pressure," Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
"You're down to 16 men and seven interchanges. It does put a lot of pressure on you."
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After Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich made a break through the middle of the field, Fensom tried to make a covering tackle but was injured in the process.
Lowe's body was slung around with his legs striking Fensom on his lower left leg.
Play was held up for 10 minutes as Fensom was attended to by medical staff and given pain killers.
Fensom, who joined the Cowboys in the pre-season, gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was taken from the field.