Daly Cherry-Evans looks set to miss several weeks for Manly after injuring his right ankle, which also may jeopardise his place in the Queensland team.
The Maroons will be named after round 11, just four weeks away, with Cherry-Evans not only the incumbent No.7 but being touted as the next captain after Greg Inglis's retirement.
The fear now is Cherry-Evans could have a syndesmosis injury, where the leg bone shifts off the ankle bone, damaging ligaments.
That could mean at least a month on the sidelines as it is a similar injury Bulldogs players Kieran Foran and Dylan Napa have recently suffered. Foran and has already missed four weeks and Napa three.
Manly coach Des Hasler described the injury as an ankle sprain and was trying to remain upbeat about the situation.
"We'll think positive until we get a result from the scans," Hasler said after his injury-hit side beat the Raiders 24-20 at Lottoland on Sunday.
"Obviously it's an ankle sprain. It was encouraging that he walked off, so that's a favourable thing. Until we get the scan we won't really know.
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"It's just one of those things. You don’t' like to see any player go down," Hasler said of the 47th-minute tackle in which DCE's right leg buckled under Elliott Whitehead's tackle.
"And when they reach for an ankle you know it's not always going to be good, particularly for Cherry as he's a pretty tough customer. He would have hated having to come off than the actual injury itself."
But up stepped five-eighth Lachlan Croker, who had his own story to tell.
A year ago on the same Lottoland ground, he suffered his second torn ACL to his left knee after eight rounds and did not play again in the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
He's been playing alongside former NSW Origin half Trent Hodkinson for Blacktown Workers in the Canterbury Cup. But the 22-year-old received a recall to first grade midweek, at the expense of Kane Elgey.
Croker let no one down, scoring two tries and helping orchestrate the team's attack and defence when Cherry-Evans went off.
"It's scary losing a guy like him – one of the best players in the game right now and our captain," Croker said.
"I've learnt a lot off him. But guys like Siro [Curtis Sironen] and Nas [Manase Fainu] especially got us over the line today. Our defence is what did it.
"I was lucky enough to play the first two months last year with Daly so a lot of that out there today was from him. I knew that was my job to do that for the team."
Hasler was pleased with Croker's composure as well, before explaining why he made the switch.
"He stepped up really well, controlled it pretty well," Hasler said.
"We were probably looking for a little more punch, a little more carry down that left side. So we decided Lachlan could deliver that.
"No doubt young Kane will come into consideration and configuration next week. Footy is like that, it swings on a pendulum doesn't it?"
Hasler also has other injury worries with hooker Api Koroisau and winger Jorge Taufua both suffering calf "tweaks", he said. Both players are also booked in for scans on Monday.