Parramatta second-rower Bryce Cartwright appears out of the running for a Round 1 starting spot after the forward shattered his jaw at training.
Cartwright has been locked in a battle with Jack Murchie and Matt Doorey for a starting spot in their season opener against the Melbourne Storm following the departure of Isaiah Papalii and suspension of Ryan Matterson.
Shaun Lane is a guaranteed starter on the left edge whilst J'maine Hopgood looks to have sewn up the lock role at least while Matterson is suspended until Round 4, leaving the right edge wide open.
After returning to pre-season training last month, Cartwright copped a heavy body check according to The Daily Telegraph, which left the forward's jaw in pieces.
He's already been ruled out for the Eels' two trial matches, against Penrith and Newcastle respectively, handing Doorey and Murchie an advantage in what's shaping as an inexperienced back-row.
Off-contract at the end of this season. Cartwright has enjoyed a mixed stint at Parramatta, featuring in 29 games across two seasons, yet starting just one game in that time period.
While he was recalled for the side's 24-20 preliminary final victory last year, Cartwright was subsequently dropped for the more aggressive Nathan Brown to face Bryce's former side, the Penrith Panthers, in the Grand Final.