Manly forward Jack Gosiewski's starring role against Wests Tigers came despite what should probably be a season-ending injury as he took a rare chance to start in his preferred spot.
A hamstring strain to Curtis Sironen – who has formed a potent back-row partnership with Joel Thompson this season – meant Gosiewski ran out in his preferred edge role in last Thursday's 32-12 win and he cashed in with two tries in combination with Daly Cherry-Evans on the right edge.
It could have been three but an early DCE pass to put Gosiewski over was ruled forward.
The effort is even more remarkable given the injury-plagued 24-year-old has been battling osteitis pubis for much of this year and is putting off season-ending surgery as he tries to manage the injury through the closing stages of the season.
"I was battling with an injury with my pelvis and it got to the stage where I couldn't really play any longer and I needed to get a few injections to sort it out and I needed a bit of time off," Gosiewski told NRL.com.
"It's probably at the stage now where I can play, it's bearable so hopefully I can finish the season off."
Gosiewski dives on a Cherry-Evans grubber
Gosiewski, who will be looking to continue his recent stretch of form in Sunday's showdown with the Raiders in Canberra, has turned to extra stretching and Pilates classes to help him manage the issue.
"I've just got to manage it and do everything I can during the week to rest, recover and prepare well and doing lots of little things like Pilates every week, stuff like that I need to get done to get on the paddock.
"You can get surgeries to fix it and a lot of players have had surgery to fix it but at this stage of the season it's not really an option so we haven't really looked into that. We're just trying to get through the season."
The former Rabbitoh has had a horror run with his final season at Redfern in 2017 and his first at Manly netting just nine caps thanks to collarbone and neck injuries at Souths then a broken hand and broken arm – the latter exacerbated by an infection – last year.
He played the first 14 rounds this year, all bar one off the bench with one game on the edge in Sironen's absence in round nine, in which he also bagged a try.
While he sees his long-term future as an edge forward, Gosiewski is more than happy to bide his time behind the senior edge forwards and is relishing the chance to make an impact in the middle.
Cherry-Evans provides for Gosiewski again
"Siro and Thommo have played most games so I've had no time to really play back row at all, which is good for the team because they're going so well," he said.
"Earlier in the year I was coming off the bench playing in the middle. With Siro out I had to go to the edge, I haven't played with Chez all year so we started a bit clunky but we got it sorted by the end of the game.
"I see myself as an edge and see my future as a back-rower but I don't mind playing middle. Particularly if you're coming off the bench I'd rather play middle because you get more involved than if you come off the bench and go to an edge."
Cherry-Evans joked that Sironen – a handy try-scorer himself lately – wasn't happy watching his understudy get amongst the points in his absence.
"It just goes to show we obviously have a lot of belief in the players that are coming in and filling positions," Cherry-Evans said.
"Jack did himself proud, I thought he had a fantastic game. Obviously Siro is a walk-up starter for us but I thought Jack did a fantastic job and showed how important he can be for us this season."