The New Zealand Warriors were left with an empty interchange bench during the closing stages of Tuesday night's 30-22 loss to the Melbourne Storm in the Victorian capital after injuries struck throughout the contest.
At one point, the Warriors found themselves up 18 points to 6, but folded during the second half of the contest under the weight of injuries and a run of play which was constantly against the club.
One of the surprise packets of the 2023 season to date, the Kiwi club had won five of their first seven games, but fell to seventh spot on the congested ladder with the loss to the Storm, who themselves only sit in sixth at the end of eight rounds - neither the Warriors, nor Storm, have had a bye.
They will now face multiple changes and a five-day turnaround before hosting the Roosters back in Auckland on Sunday, with all of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (concussion), Tohu Harris (knee) and Jazz Tevaga (achilles) injured. Bayley Sironen was also off the park at the back-end with a HIA, but ultimately passed and will be free to play next week, provided there are no delayed symptoms.
Of the injured trio, Harris was the first to leave the field in the 38th minute of the contest after sustaining a knee injury - the same knee that he has just returned from.
Speaking at the post-gamea press conference, Harris revealed the injury wasn't an ACL, but rather a medial ligament. Recovery times on the injury can range from a few weeks to something longer, but he is unlikely to be available next week.
"It's the same knee I did a couple of weeks ago, but we won't find out until we are home the extent of the damage," Harris said.
"I'm hoping it's not that bad and pretty positive news. I'm hoping I don't miss any or too many games.
"It doesn't feel like that [an ACL].
"It's definitely medial."
Coach Andrew Webster was then left to explain the injuries to Nicoll-Klokstad and Tevaga.
The fullback, who made the switch from the Canberra Raiders in the off-season, found himself taken from the field in the 55th minute and assessed as a Category 1 HIA, but indicated he felt good in the dressing rooms afterward.
"Charnze has to be stood down because he failed his HIA," Webster said.
"I'm not joking this time. He was really responsive in there and they are good signs, but we will go through the protocols and work it out."
That is on a six-day turnaround after a five-day turnaround into the Roosters' game next Sunday, although the fullback may, if he passes each level of protocol at the fastest rate, be able to apply for an exemption that could let him play Penrith.
In a rare spot of good news though for the Warriors, Tevaga's injury has been assessed as less serious than it possibly could be, with a full rupture of the achilles not expected.
Webster also revealed he had some calf problems alongside the achilles injury.
"Jazz will miss some time. He had some Achilles and calf problems.
"He hasn't ruptured his achilles. It's not season or anything like that."
The injuries will see big issues at fullback, with Taine Tuaupiki also injured in NSW Cup on the weekend against the Parramatta Eels. With Luke Metcalf also out to a hamstring injury, it could see Dallin Watene-Zelezniak forced to shift to fullback.
In the forwards, Mitch Barnett could be closing on a return from a neck injury to take one of the forward spots. Wayde Egan is also due back, meaning he could come into the side, with Freddy Lussick retaining a bench spot. Otherwise, Zyon Maiu'u could push for an NRL debut off the bench.
The Warriors will name their team on Wednesday alongside the rest of the NRL, but given it'll be less than 24 hours after fulltime in their clash against the Storm, late changes to play the Roosters next Sunday are likely.