Luke Keary produced the Roosters' premiership-winning play on a dodgy ankle that prevented him from 'running left to right' and will likely cost him a Kangaroos jersey.
Keary revealed after a historic grand final defeat of Canberra that he was only able to train "a little bit on Friday with a [painkilling] needle" in the lead-up to his starring role in the Tricolours' 14-8 triumph.
He was named in Mal Meninga's Test squad on Monday but will have to pass a fitness test to take his place in the matches against New Zealand in Wollongong on October 25 and Tonga in Auckland on November 2.
Regardless, he was once more the Roosters' grand final hero, having won the 2018 Clive Churchill medal shouldering Cooper Cronk's playmaking duties while he nursed a fractured scapula.
It was Keary that sparked the left-edge break that led to James Tedesco's 72nd-minute match-winner against Canberra, a play Trent Robinson called for from the coach's box just moments earlier.
The plucky five-eighth's third premiership came despite a syndesmosis injury that he fears could require off-season surgery, with scans on Monday to confirm if he is available for Australia's end-of-season Tests.
Keary has carried the injury throughout the finals, requiring painkilling injections to play against Melbourne and the Raiders, but never considered sitting out Sunday's decider.
"I knew I was going to play but it was worse than I thought it was going to be tonight," Keary said.
"I didn't think I was too bad but that you probably can't see up high, there's things I can't do. I couldn't run from left to right, I couldn't prop on my left foot.
"I knew I'd got through it in the Melbourne game, I felt I hid it pretty well.
"Maybe three days before the Melbourne game I thought I was no chance.
"I thought I was gone and then I went to warm up before the Melbourne game and I just got through warm-up and played."
For most all of the second half the Roosters were up against it, grimly hanging on in defence while Cronk served his time in the sin-bin.
Keary's match-winning play saw him scoot out of dummy-half before finding Latrell Mitchell in space, whose own flick pass in turn sent Daniel Tupou and then Tedesco off to the races.
"I got a message from Robbo, I'm not even kidding, probably 30 seconds before that try – 'take your chance. If you get a chance, take it'," Keary said.
"Kingy [assistant coach Matt King] came out and said it and honestly, 30 seconds later I tried to get out there, Boydo [captain Boyd Cordner] got tackled.
"We spoke at half-time about where I wanted Latrell when I came down there. And it was a situation exactly like we spoke about, and he was in the right spot that I told him to be in.
"The flick obviously is just his little cherry on top."