New Zealand Warriors hooker Nathaniel Roache will have scans on Monday to determine whether he has suffered a season-ending torn ACL as suspected by the club's medical staff.
Roache collapsed while attempting to sidestep in the 65th minute of Sunday's 19-18 golden point loss to Penrith and was forced from the field.
If confirmed it will be the latest in a long list of serious injuries 23-year-old Roache has suffered so far in his Telstra Premiership career, having torn his Achilles in 2017 before sitting out the entire 2018 season after having back surgery.
"We have got an orthopaedic surgeon in the dressing room and two very experienced doctors, and they are saying potentially it's a ACL," Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said.
"We won't know exactly until we have had scans done of it."
The injury formed part of a miserable day at the office for the Warriors, who led Penrith 16-12 with two minutes to go before allowing Panthers rookie Brent Naden to score an 80-metre runaway try, which following James Maloney's conversion gave the visitors the lead.
The Warriors then forced golden point with a penalty 30 seconds from time, but had their ninth loss of the season confirmed when Maloney calmly slotted a field goal four minutes later.
Post-match Kearney called out centre Patrick Herbert and wing David Fusitu'a for their crucial missed tackle which allowed Naden to break the line.
"We got a reminder that when the moment presents itself for you you have got to get it done," Kearney said.
"In the back end we had a couple of fellas that didn't do it, in terms of a missed tackle.
"Reality is with two and a half minutes to go we were still ahead, and if we got our assignments done, got our jobs done, then potentially I wouldn’t be as disappointed as I am now.
"We got to golden point but I thought with two and a half minutes to go we could have nailed it."
The Penrith loss leaves the Warriors languishing in 12th position, four points adrift of the top eight.
The Auckland-based club now face a stretch of three away games over the next month and in their remaining 10 games face just one side not currently inside the top eight.
Match: Warriors v Panthers
Round 15 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
- LIVE PASS
While acknowledging his team now face an uphill battle, hooker Karl Lawton did his best to focus on the positives from the Penrith loss.
"You grind out a game for 80 minutes and lose by one point, that's not the worst sign in the world," Lawton told NRL.com.
"It means you are in it for the whole game, and the field goal to finish it doesn't mean you were bad defensively.
"The big thing for us now is to stay confident. We need to now enjoy the time away and used it to our advantage."