What promised to be a week to remember for Reed Mahoney has ended in frustration after the Queensland back-up hooker suffered a shoulder injury in Parramatta's 40-4 NRL rout in Newcastle.
In a concern for not only the Eels but also the Maroons, Mahoney is expected to be sidelined for at least two games after coming off second best in a 68th minute tackle at McDonald Jones Stadium.
While Eels coach Brad Arthur played down long-term concerns for his prized rake, it was a blow for Mahoney who appeared to be within grasp of his Queensland debut just days ago.
It loomed as a big week for Mahoney who was initially named as the Maroons' starting No.9 for Wednesday's Origin opener in Townsville.
But Mahoney ultimately not only missed out on the hooker role, he was released from Queensland's squad to Parramatta this weekend after Melbourne rake Harry Grant passed a fitness test in the Maroons camp.
An unfazed Mahoney picked up where he left off in his Eels return on Sunday, setting up two tries as the visitors ruined Newcastle's Old Boys Day celebrations after jumping to a 22-0 halftime lead.
Parramatta (10-3 record) moved back into the top three by snapping their two-game losing run with the eight tries to one romp.
Arthur was hopeful Mahoney would be back to his best soon after initial fears of a pectoral injury were dismissed but would know more after scans on Monday.
"I don't think it is too bad. He might miss a couple of games," Arthur said.
Arthur also played down fears for star playmaker Mitchell Moses who was benched in the 56th minute.
"His calf tightened up. It was a good opportunity to let some other boys step up - he's fine," Arthur said.
A dead-panned Arthur almost cracked a smile after his side spoiled the Knights' party on Sunday.
The Newcastle faithful were up and about as the club saluted players from their 2001 premiership win over the Eels who had gathered for their special day.
But the Eels revelled in the role of party poopers with captain Clint Gutherson inspiring a whirlwind start by setting up two tries to Fijian flyer Maika Sivo and scoring himself.
Coincidentally their halftime lead almost equalled the 24-0 scoreline Newcastle wracked up by the main break before upsetting the Eels in the 2001 grand final.
Arthur still wasn't completely happy after the Eels scored three second half tries, but only one when they held a one-man advantage with Sauaso Sue sin-binned in the 67th minute for a late tackle.
The Knights only got on the scoreboard in the 76th minute when Enari Tuala crashed over.
"We ended up on our tryline for 20 odd tackles (in the second half) and conceded that try at the death - we need to be a bit better there," Arthur said.
Sivo is second on the 2021 try-scoring tally with 13 and has now scored 50 in his 59-game career, becoming the third fastest player to reach the milestone.