Darcy Lussick's debut as captain for the Manly Sea Eagles didn't go anywhere near to plan as he had to be helped off Southern Cross Group Stadium with what looks like a serious left ankle injury.
To add to the discomfort to his pain, the Sea Eagles suffered a 30-14 loss, outclassed six tries to three.
But coach Trent Barrett was more concerned about the welfare of his rugged prop, who looks no chance of playing in the opening round against the Newcastle Knights on March 9.
The 28-year-old was making his first hit-up but as he was put on the ground in what appeared to be a routine tackle, he writhed in pain grabbing his left ankle.
"Not good," was Barrett's assessment post-match. "We're still waiting to see how bad it is but it doesn't look particularly good at this stage, which is a shame for Darcy.
"He's had a good pre-season and it was the first tackle of the game. We'll cross our fingers and hope he's alright.
"Trials are a necessary evil I suppose. I'm just disappointed for Darcy."
Barrett had named him captain, in the absence of skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, who was rested from Saturday night's Sharks trial along with players involved in last year's World Cup.
"It was pretty upsetting from a teammate's point of view – the moment he got that injury," said fellow forward Frank Winterstein.
"He'll have scans now and all the boys will rally behind him."
Lussick missed the first five rounds of the 2017 season with a wrist injury.
Elsewhere, Barrett and assistant coaches John Cartwright and Chad Randall had plenty to watch out for as they had named 24 players for the match - and that was without Cherry-Evans, Curtis Sironen, the Trbojevic brothers Jake and Tom, Fijian hooker Api Koroisau and winger Akuila Uate, New Zealand forward Martin Taupau, and new Canberra five-eighth Lachlan Croker.
"I was happy with some individuals scattered through the side. It was a bit of a disjointed trial I suppose as we had so many blokes in different positions," Barrett said.
"Next week is an important one for us and we'll put our best 17 out there.
"I thought Addin Fonua-Blake and Brian Kelly and Kelepi Tanginoa were really good. (Frank) Winterstein and Laney (Shaun Lane) were also good. So these were guys who featured fairly heavily in our first-grade side last year, they got some good minutes out tonight. They'll be better for it."
Winterstein said the match certainly felt like a trial. "A few dropped balls, a few silly penalties, but it was live action so it was great to go out there and finally play footy again," he said.