St George Illawarra playmaker Gareth Widdop is set to miss England's Test against Samoa after he went down with a knee injury in his side's Anzac Day loss to the Sydney Roosters.
The in-form No.6's injury is not only a blow to Wayne Bennett's England side ahead of next month's Test against Samoa, it is threatening to throw off course the Dragon's stellar start to the NRL season.
Widdop suffered a medial ligament tear in his left knee after being hit by three Roosters defenders while trying to carry the ball out of his own in-goal and looks set for an extended stint on the casualty list.
While scans on Wednesday will reveal the full extent of the injury, Dragons coach Paul McGregor said he would not recover in time for the Test in just 11 days.
"You'd have to say yes (he will miss the Test) at this stage, if he's coming off with a knee," McGregor said.
"Gareth doesn't like missing footy.
"Coming off and not being able to run, he wouldn't be playing, I wouldn't think.
The match was Widdop's 150th NRL game and came just three days after he re-signed with the Dragons on a four-year deal.
It's a big blow for the Dragons after Widdop began the year in arguably career best form and has been a big part of their ascension from cellar dwellers last year to the top of the ladder.
He has emerged as a contender for the Dally M, is the competition's top points scorer and has been one of the league's form halves with eight try assists and eight linebreak assists.
Kurt Mann, who slotted in to the five-eighth position when Widdop left the field just 90 seconds before halftime, now looks set for an extended run in the starting side.
McGregor emphasised how proud he was of his troops for the way they persevered without Widdop and demanded a no-excuses approach from his squad while they were without their star No.6.
"We're a squad, that was the message, whoever takes that position has to be ready," McGregor said.
"He knows our systems and there's a good opportunity for Kurt to play a bit of half.
"You don't replace Gareth Widdop but Kurt's trained there before and is a very capable NRL player.
"We're comfortable with whoever comes in."
ANZAC Day Match Highlights
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