North Queensland Cowboys fullback Te Maire Martin has been ruled out of Friday night's bottom-of-the-table game against the Eels after failing to train on Thursday due to an ankle injury.
Martin suffered the injury last week against the Sharks and will be replaced at the back by Ben Hampton on Friday night, with both teams playing to avoid the wooden spoon.
"He's a really instinctive player when there's an opportunity comes he's never too far away from what's happening, but Ben brings plenty in his own right there," Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
"[Ben] is more comfortable back there, it's a position he's played a fair bit in as a young guy, played a bit there at the start of the year for us too and did a pretty good job."
That's little consolation for Martin, who will miss Johnathan Thurston's last home game, although Green is hopeful he will recover for their Round 25 meeting with the Titans.
"[It's an} ankle, so just given it's a short turn around it's probably just a little bit too quick, but I'm pretty confident he'll be back next week," Green said.
"He's disappointed, not just because it's a big occasion for a couple of different reasons but he's a real competitor, he wants to play."
Hampton had been aware of the possibility that he'd be lining up at the back, and said on Tuesday he was ready to step into whichever position his coach had in mind for him.
"If I get that job I'll be more than happy to do that if 'Greeny' wants me to, I haven't played there for a while but I'm sure I'll be up for it," Hampton said.
The utility-turned-fullback sympathised with his teammate's plight of missing out on such a unique game, with Thurston farewelling the Townsville fans and Matt Scott playing his 250th NRL match.
"It's one you want to play, I'll remember it forever playing in Johnno's last home game and a couple of the milestones that are up as well," he said.
"You always seem to remember those games and you always want to do your best on the field for those guys because you know that they do it for you."