Eighteen weeks of suspensions and cruelly timed injuries will leave the Dragons and Raiders without a combined $6 million in playing talent after Magic Round.
While half a dozen stitches to Andrew McCullough's eye lid have turned out to be a welcome result after fears he had suffered a facial fracture, Matt Dufty's AC joint injury only adds to a long list of NRL regulars on the sidelines.
NRL.com understands Dufty is facing up to 3-4 weeks out as he still pushes for a new contract, with Jack Bird and Cody Ramsey the likely fullback options against Cronulla on Friday.
Early guilty pleas from Josh McGuire and Tyrell Fuimaono (five-week bans), Mikaela Ravalawa (two weeks) and Tariq Sims (one week) are set to decimate their already thin playing stocks.
Fuimaono had recently shifted from the pack to centre in a bid to fix their stretched resources out wide.
Fuimaono sent off for high shot Papenhuyzen
Winger Jordan Pereira looms as one of few reinforcement options as he returns from suspension with outside backs Zac Lomax (thumb), Brayden Williame (calf) and Mat Feagai (ankle) still some weeks away.
The loss of seasoned campaigners McGuire and Sims, combined with the recent retirement of Trent Merrin, leaves the Dragons with few forwards to draw from in their top 30 for Friday's local derby against the Sharks.
Fringe first-graders Kaide Ellis, Jackson Ford come into contention while any lay-off for McCullough would have raised the prospect of Ben Hunt shifting to hooker given Cameron McInnes is already out for the season.
Episode 12 - Reed Mahoney
Dragons general manager Ben Haran issued a statement in announcing they had accepted the suspensions from Sunday's loss: "Our players don't intentionally go out to hurt the opposition. Our players' integrity should not be questioned in this respect.
"After a detailed review and seeking advice on each individual matter we have decided to take the early guilty plea on each charge; given also the different loading and prior offences of each player as well as the change the game is currently undergoing."
Meanwhile, the Raiders will also be without four of their biggest earners against Melbourne with Jarrod Croker (knee) out indefinitely and Josh Papalii, Josh Hodgson and Jack Wighton all taking early pleas to their Magic Round suspensions.
Canberra are hopeful forwards Ryan Sutton (elbow) and Sia Soliola (knee) will be available, though if either are passed in youngsters Kai O'Donnell, Darby Medlyn and Harry Rushton will come into consideration.
Siliva Havilii and Sam Williams shape as the reinforcements to cover Hodgson and Wighton.
Papalii sent off for high contact on Tuipulotu Katoa
Croker is now a week-to-week prospect after recovering from a shoulder injury, only for treatment on an ongoing knee injury to keep him sidelined.
The Storm themselves will see Ryan Papenhuyzen (concussion) join Cameron Munster and Harry Grant on the sidelines, with Brandon Smith back from suspension to replace Grant.
Brisbane meanwhile are sizing up 34-year-old code-hopper Karmichael Hunt for a call-up after a miserable 50-6 loss to Manly had coach Kevin Walters declaring "we will consider all players after this performance" for a daunting SCG stoush against the Roosters.
Hunt has not played an NRL game in 12 years, but after signing a Broncos train and trial deal, he is now available for NRL selection given players on development and part-time contracts can now be named without an exemption.
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"Certainly his (Hunt’s) experience ... that was one of the reasons why we brought him back to train with the group, was for his experience and his knowledge, so we’ve got that in Karmichael for sure."
Highly rated rookie Brendan Piukora is also in contention to debut with Jordan Riki accepting a two-week crusher tackle ban and Alex Glenn still sidelined.
Out-of-favour halfback Brodie Croft has suffered yet another setback, suffering a knee injury at Intrust Super Cup level that has required surgery and up to six weeks out.
Croft is contracted for another 18 months at the Broncos but is facing an uphill battle to see first-grade time with Adam Reynolds signed for next season and Anthony Milford and Tyson Gamble preferred at the scrumbase.
All clubs have now returned to level one Apollo restrictions after Magic Round, meaning there are no issues with second-tier competition players being called into Telstra Premiership bubbles.