Wests Tigers players are feeling for shattered mate Matt Ballin following news he requires further surgery on a knee injury that will end his season but have backed the popular rake to bounce back next year.
Ballin had a reconstruction on a ruptured ACL suffered playing for Manly against Parramatta in Round 24 last year and spent a long off-season working with the medical staff at his new club to get back on the field.
Ballin played two NRL games before finding out the original injury required further medical intervention.
"It's pretty devastating. I think all the boys are feeling pretty sorry for Matty," Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks told NRL.com.
"He came over here and worked his butt off in pre-season to get his knee right and played a couple of games and unfortunately got injured again so it's not the best news.
"He's just a great bloke to have around the team with all his experience, he really helps our team, helps the young boys. He has his input when we do team video which is really helpful for us. It's sad for Matty but he's a strong guy and he'll get through it and come back better next year."
Brooks's halves partner Mitch Moses was also feeling for the 32-year-old.
He described the news as "devastating."
"Matty, it's a credit to him, he's been so positive throughout it all, through our pre-season, always in rehab at the start of the season and to have to come back and do it again and have another surgery is devastating for him but he's still been in high spirits, still coming down to training and talking to us," Moses said.
"He's a legend of a bloke and I'm hoping he can get through it and be right for next year."
Fullback James Tedesco added: "It's upsetting for Matty, he worked his backside off to get back to playing and to do it again is really upsetting.
"All the boys are feeling for him. He's been massive for all of us young blokes at the club so he'll keep working with us and he'll get his knee right for next year."
Ballin is still contracted to the club for 2017 so may yet add to his career tally that currently sits at 219 NRL games (217 for Manly including two grand final wins plus two matches for Wests Tigers) and one Queensland Origin cap.
This article first appeared on NRL.com