Gifted Brisbane fullback Josh Hoffman's National Rugby League season has come to a shattering end with a knee injury putting him out of the finals and scuppering his chances of playing for New Zealand in the end-of-year Four Nations.
While scans on Monday confirmed the talented 23-year-old had torn his posterior cruciate ligament, they also cleared him of more serious structural damage which would have required major surgery.
Instead, Hoffman will wear a knee brace for five to six weeks and will aim to be back for the start of the 2012 season.
The injury is a cruel blow for the Mackay product, who has more than filled the vacancy left by international Karmichael Hunt.
He was Brisbane's player-of-the-year in 2010 and was playing outstanding football this season.
Hoffman recently scored his first NRL hat-trick and had a star turn against South Sydney before suffering his latest injury when hit awkwardly in a tackle playing against Manly on Sunday.
Gerard Beale will shift into the No.1 jumper for Saturday's qualifying final against the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium.
Beale was outstanding at the start of the season, playing fullback when Hoffman was out injured, and Griffin has no concerns giving him the job for the finals, especially with star centre Justin Hodges returning from injury.