Despite the fact that newly crowned premiership pair Nathan Cleary and Dylan Edwards will currently be nursing sore heads , it was their ailing bodies that were the point of much speculation ahead of Sunday night's Grand Final.
While both the playmaker and the fullback managed to thrive rather than just survive the 80-minute onslaught during the Panthers' 14-12 victory over South Sydney, the extent of their respective injuries have been revealed now that the tickertape has hit the turf.
In the case of Cleary, the 2021 Clive Churchill Medallist had been carrying an injured shoulder since Origin II earlier in the year. Yet, by the time referee Gerard Sutton blew the whistle to commence the decider, the 23-year-old's joint was barely intact.
According to another premiership Panther in Greg Alexander, the competition's best halfback was far from a picture of health.
“The tendon was torn 80 per cent,” Alexander said on Fox League following the final whistle.
“It was just hanging.
“It was hanging and they tried cortisones to try and shock it into some scar tissue to strengthen it a little bit but I don’t think much of it worked.
“And he just strapped it up and got on with it.”
Though hampered, the co-captain commandeered his troops around Suncorp Stadium off his boot and even managed to test the shoulder during big stops in the dying stages of the arm wrestle.
“Nathan Cleary made some crucial tackles at the death in that final five minutes,” Alexander continued.
“And to do what he has done with one arm is just … I can’t even explain what he has gone through and the fact that the arm is just hanging off his body.
“Like it is just strapped together. And to do what he did … to continue to kick the ball down onto the tryline … the kicking game of Nathan was superb.”
Though the champagne is yet to lose its taste, Cleary remains booked in for surgery at some stage throughout the next week per reports from News Corp.
Speaking after his rise to the summit, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary divulged that his son was just one of many men that were under injury clouds, including the previously moon-booted Edwards.
Having spent the vast majority of Grand Final week posted up on a pair of crutches, the word from the silver-haired Cleary was that the 25-year-old who finished the night with 217 run-metres had been playing with a broken foot.
“Dyl Edwards, oh my god, he’s had a broken foot for like a month," the ecstatic coach stated in his post-game press conference.
“He has not trained, walked around on crutches every week and then goes out and plays.
“I don’t understand how that can happen but it just sums up the bond."
Cleary also suggested that there were further members of his backline, and a raft of forwards, whose bodies had him losing sleep prior to kick-off.
“I just can’t rap the boys enough,” he said.
“The courage that these boys have shown, we really couldn’t train the last three weeks as a team, so many guys not training … I think it’s purely on courage that these boys have won this.
“I reckon there was at least five that probably shouldn’t have been playing today. I don’t say that lightly. It was a calculated risk on a lot of boys.
“I actually woke up at 2am this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep because I was thinking, ‘My god, honestly three or four of them could be gone by 10 minutes into the game)’.
“But it was calculated and they just refused not to play. Fish [James Fisher-Harris], Moses [Leota], Dyl Edwards."
Though battered, this latest collective of cubs who have brought the Provan-Summons trophy back to Penrith for the first time since 2003 will no doubt be feeling nothing as the corks continue to pop for another few days yet.