Roosters coach Trent Robinson says the toll of Boyd Cordner's emotional week, rather than concern over a possible concussion, saw him kept off the paddock as his teammates carved up Newcastle 42-12 at the SCG on Saturday night.
Cordner endured the toughest of pre-game lead-ins after his cousin Joel Dark passed away on Friday, having undergone emergency brain surgery following his own head knock playing local first grade in Newcastle.
Both the Knights and the Roosters wore black armbands in memory of Dark and observed a moment's silence before kick-off, after which the Roosters points tally raced the clock for 20 minutes.
Cordner was smack bang in the middle of a ruthless left-edge assault by the Tricolours that yielded three early tries, only to have hearts a flutter when his head hit the deck heavily as he tried to ground a 25th minute grubber.
Given Cordner's history of concussions this season - he has spent six weeks out after two separate blows and repeated headaches - the Roosters were always going to err on the side of caution with their skipper.
Match: Roosters v Knights
Round 18 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Robinson applauded club doctor Tom Longworth's handling of Cordner in the most trying of circumstances, and said he held no concern after he was kept on ice for the rest of the match.
"The assessment was really good, he answered questions really well, he was quite clear," Robinson said.
"But the week that he's had. That was a really smart call just to say 'just take a breath and don't go back on'.
"That's really good work from the doctor and obviously Boyd to understand that. It's incredibly tough for him with Joel, his family and the extended family.
Cordner and Keary create the opener for Josh Morris
"He's upset like any cousin would be and he's clear and he's fine in himself football-wise.
"His head's fine, it was a big shock taking the wind out of him and trying to score the try at the same time.
"He's good. I'm not concerned about him health wise. I'm more concerned about him with Joel's passing."
Concern for their skipper was the only one for Robinson's side, with a cricket score long in the works at the SCG.
As Newcastle rested Kalyn Ponga, Hymel Hunt and Mitch Barnett for the trip south, the Roosters big guns simply shot them to pieces.
Five tries came in the opening 40, the best of which featured flabbergasting skills from Kyle Flanagan to put four points on a platter for James Tedesco.
With Sonny Bill Williams instigating play down the right-edge, Flanagan reeled in a Joey Manu offload with one hand low to his right before grubbering back inside in the same motion for Tedesco to dot down.
For most of the first 40 it was the opposite edge where the Roosters repeatedly raided, Luke Keary warming to his task as he continues to recover from busted ribs.
Josh Morris and Daniel Tupou both registered early tries before combining to put Keary over for his four-pointer.
When Manu barged through like he was the X373 bound for Town Hall, Newcastle were eyeing off their own carriage back up the M1.
SBW wears a shot but helps create a try for Tedesco
In his return from a broken arm though, Edrick Lee briefly stemmed the deluge of points from the premiers.
First he flew high for a bomb that led to Enari Tuala's 26th minute try, before then defusing another Roosters raid with an attempted intercept that would have seen Brett Morris over had Lee not intervened.
After being run ragged by the Roosters left edge, Gehamat Shibasaki got one back when he latched onto a cross-field kick from Mitchell Pearce, only for Tedesco's touchdown to kill off Newcastle's comeback quick smart.
Tupou added his second for the night, and his 100th in 170 Roosters games after the break, while Williams continued to threaten as he got some much-needed game time.
The code-crossing superstar had plenty to do with the Tricolours final tally of 19 offloads with three of his own in 30 minutes of action.
Tuala gets the Knights first
The eight line breaks came courtesy of Keary, Flanagan and Josh Morris as their phenomenal for and against all but books a top four finish.
Newcastle meanwhile tallied a disturbing 39 missed tackles that will make for an uncomfortable Monday morning review session, with another late try for Keary ensuring there is no consolation when the credits roll.