The wheels have officially fallen off the Dragons' season, with skipper Ben Hunt to miss a month of footy after fracturing his arm in Sunday's loss to the Rabbitohs.
Made captain of the club this season, the 31-year-old's return to his best has been one of the few shining lights in an otherwise forgettable campaign marred by injuries and mass suspensions.
The injury was picked up after the match and won't require surgery, but it will keep him out of action for the next four weeks.
It's the second frustrating injury hiccup this season for Hunt, who played on with a leg fracture in the Dragons win over Manly in round three and subsequently missed the next four games.
It's another cruel blow in what's been a staggeringly difficult first season for coach Anthony Griffin, who's juggled the sacking of Paul Vaughan and subsequent one-game suspensions of 11 other players amid a COVID-enforced relocation to Brisbane.
He is set to welcome back a host of big names for this weekend's clash with the Raiders, with all but two of the club's 'dirty dozen' having served their one-game suspensions, but will now be without his captain and form player in the run home.
In a further blow on Wednesday, Tyrell Fuiamaono is facing another week on the sidelines after he was hit with a grade one dangerous contact charge arising from Sunday's loss.
It will see him sit out a seventh match through suspension this year, having served five weeks for a high shot on Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen in round 10 and another for attending the Shellharbour barbecue.
The Dragons slipped out of the top eight for the first time since round two with Sunday's loss to Souths that saw them leapfrogged into eighth by Canberra on for and against.
They'll meet the Raiders on Friday ahead of clashes with the Panthers, Roosters, Cowboys and Rabbitohs to finish the regular season.
Without Hunt, winning enough games to see finals action appears an insurmountable task having won just four of their last 14 games - conceding 114 points in their last three outings.
Pairing veteran Corey Norman in halves with Jayden Sullivan appears the most likely bet for Griffin, though Talatau Amone and Adam Clune will also come into the halves frame.
Jack de Belin, Josh McGuire, Blake Lawrie, Jack Bird are all free to return after missing Sunday's game, while Zac Lomax and Daniel Alvaro will also re-join the team this week having completed two weeks of quarantine.
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