Dylan Brown's rapid rise with Parramatta has been put on ice indefinitely by a back injury as carnage among the game's biggest names gives his young contemporaries first-grade chances.
Brown has been ruled out of the Eels clash with Cronulla on Saturday, with fellow gun rookie Jaeman Salmon switching to five-eighth against his junior club.
Brown, 18, has been hampered by bone bruising in his lower back first picked up during a trial match against Penrith, but it hasn't dulled a bright start to his NRL career across the first three rounds of 2019.
NRL.com understands Brown's injury is a week-to-week proposition as it has not been able to heal with constant contact, and has not yet developed into a stress fracture.
It is unknown how long the Kiwi prodigy will be sidelined, though the Eels will take a cautious approach given his body is still developing and adjusting to the rigours of top-flight rugby league.
Across the game several of the NRL's generation next will take centre stage this weekend, injuries to big names Kieran Foran, Matt Moylan, James Roberts and Jake Friend creating carnage among the team lists.
Round 4: Brown, Foran out; Reynolds returns
Origin and Test back-rower Tyson Frizell was one surprise inclusion amongst the Dragons reserves list for Sunday's clash with the Knights just three weeks after suffering a lacerated testicle in round one.
Cronulla's Bronson Xerri has been confirmed for a highly-anticipated first grade debut, the 18-year-old starting at right centre with Josh Dugan shifting to fullback in cover for Moylan.
Xerri joins his Aquinas Colts junior teammates Blayke and Jayden Brailey in the Sharks line-up, with the trio also playing alongside gun playmaker Kyle Flanagan as youngsters.
Livewire Broncos utility Kotoni Staggs also gets a run-on start against the Roosters on Thursday night, where he will line up opposite NSW Origin star Latrell Mitchell.
Another mouthwatering showdown between Mitchell and James Roberts has been scuppered by ongoing Achilles issues for the latter, with Roberts considered a week-to-week proposition for Brisbane.
Jake Friend's shoulder injury also gives NSW bolter Victor Radley a chance to highlight his versatility, Radley starting at hooker for the premiers in the SCG blockbuster.
Cooper Cronk returns from a hamstring issue for the premiers, pushing Mitchell out of the halves and rookie Lachlan Lam to the reserves.
At Canterbury Kieran Foran's three-month lay-off due to ankle surgery sees Jack Cogger make his blue and white debut, while Junior Kiwis half Chanel Harris-Tavita celebrates his 20th birthday this week with an NRL debut against the Titans.
While the youth are on show across the game, Wests Tigers welcome Josh Reynolds in from the cold as replacement for veteran Benji Marshall (hamstring) in Friday's grudge match with Penrith.
Reynolds, who turns 30 next week, has been biding his time in reserve grade since Michael Maguire's arrival at Concord, while the Panthers also have back-rowers Viliame Kikau (knee) and Isaah Yeo (concussion) on deck for Ivan Cleary's first clash with his former club.