NSW's horrendous State of Origin preparations may have been dealt a fatal blow with injury and suspension threatening Blues skipper Paul Gallen's involvement following South Sydney's 34-28 National Rugby League win over Cronulla.
As if the sight of a rampant Souths and Queensland star Greg Inglis scoring a brilliant hat-trick wasn't enough to ensure a sleepless night for NSW coach Ricky Stuart, then Gallen's shocking outing would have done the trick.
Gallen hobbled from the field in the 57th minute, telling Sharks medical officials he felt something go in his right knee as he surrendered in a tackle.
That came after he was placed on report for a fourth minute knee to the head of Dave Taylor after they were both getting to their feet after a tackle.
Already without certain selections Kurt Gidley, Danny Buderus and Michael Jennings due to injury, the loss of his inspirational captain Gallen could be the setback from which the Blues fail to recover.