Brandon Smith's inspirational Maori All Stars display last Saturday night now seems more remarkable after it was revealed the hooker played on with a facial fracture.
The Storm announced on Tuesday morning that Smith will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks - scratching him from the early rounds of the NRL season. He doesn't require surgery.
Smith lifted the Maori side to a 30-16 victory over the Indigenous All Stars at Cbus Super Stadium, scoring two tries, running for 177 metres and making four line breaks in 59 minutes during a sublime man of the match performance.
The 23-year-old has been a consistent force for Melbourne off the interchange over the past two years, playing as a mobile middle forward last year.
While his absence is a blow for Craig Bellamy's men, it's likely to give highly rated dummy half Harry Grant a chance in the top grade.
Bellamy recently said that Grant is ready for regular NRL action but he couldn't find a place for the youngster with the legendary Cameron Smith wearing the No.9 and Brandon Smith on the bench.
Grant, who has played two NRL games, had been touted to swap clubs with Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski this season in a unique one-year loan deal.
The agreement was vetoed by the NRL because the acquisition of Momirovski on the same terms as his current Tigers contract would put Melbourne over the salary cap by around $15,000.