Wests Tigers will be fighting for their season with more than $3 million of talent and 1000 games of NRL experience watching from the stands on Thursday.
Their upset loss to Canterbury last weekend not only dropped them out of the top eight but cost them big guns Robbie Farah (fractured tibia) and Moses Mbye (torn hip flexor), with both facing potentially season-ending injuries.
Farah is holding out hope he can return from what is typically a six-week injury for the club's final round clash with Cronulla at Leichhardt Oval.
Having announced his retirement at season's end, the 35-year-old is due to meet with two specialists this week as he bids for a miracle recovery.
He and Mbye will be significant losses for Thursday's clash with Manly on the Northern Beaches.
Despite losing both their captain and their most experienced player, NRL.com understands Josh Reynolds remains out-of-favour with coach Michael Maguire having given him permission to negotiate with rival clubs.
Front-rower Russell Packer has also been ruled out for the season after foot surgery while Ben Matulino continues to battle a chronic knee injury.
Wests Tigers players hope Farah will return from injury
NRL.com understands Mbye, Reynolds, Packer and Matulino each earn between $600,000 and $800,000 a season, while Farah is playing on a bargain basement deal worth less than $200,000.
Josh Aloiai's immediate playing future is also clouded after a plate in his hand came loose at training last week, ruling him out of the trip to Manly as well.
With Farah recently joining the NRL's 300-club, his absence along with Matulino (248 games), Packer (176), Reynolds (147), Mbye (120) and Aloiai (72) amounts to 1065 games of experience that Maguire is unable to call on or unlikely to do so in the case of Reynolds.
Last Saturday's 18-16 loss to the Bulldogs leaves them languishing in 10th place and likely having to win three of their last four games to end the NRL's longest finals drought.
Vision of the defeat also made for a particularly brutal review at Concord on Monday.
While highly rated rookie Tommy Talau is tipped to debut in Mbye's place against Manly, dummy-half Jacob Liddle will start his succession into Farah's No.9 jersey earlier than expected.
Liddle re-signed with the Tigers last week and has been touted as Farah's long-term replacement, having overcome two shoulder reconstructions in 2017.
Halfback Luke Brooks has previously described the 22-year-old as being in the mould of Origin and Test hooker Damien Cook, with Liddle's speed off the mark unaffected by the bulk he has added to his frame this season.
"[Farah] is a key part of our team but the best thing is we've got Jacob Liddle, he's raring to go," teammate Ryan Matterson said on Monday.
"He had an awesome pre-season Liddsy. He's really keen. Brooksy said that he's in that Damien Cook mould and with his speed, he's one of the fastest in the club.
"We've just got to get around him and once he jumps out at hooker we've got to flood the middle.
"Liddsy, he's unbelievably quick, so quick. Once he thinks runs first, we've just got to jump on the back of him."