St George Illawarra have been dealt another blow with centre Euan Aitken facing a lengthy stint on the sideline.
With fullback Josh Dugan and five-eighth Gareth Widdop already ruled out of next week's trip across the Tasman, Aitken hobbled off early in the Dragons' 18-14 loss to Cronulla on Friday night with a hamstring injury.
Scans will reveal the full extent of the setback, but it is understood there are fears he could miss at least four weeks.
Coach Paul McGregor cut a downcast figure after the match.
"He's no good," McGregor said.
"He'll be out for a few weeks, definitely. When you walk off the field like that, it's a bad one."
Aitken has busted through 42 tackles and scored four tries this season.
His absence from the 20-minute mark sparked a reshuffle in the Dragons' backs, with winger Taane Milne moving into the centres and five-eighth Kurt Mann posted onto the far right edge.
Ultimately, it cost the Dragons dearly as the Sharks scored each of their three tries down his side as the Saints sunk to a third straight loss.
However it did bring to the field livewire Jai Field, who looked dangerous with every touch.
One of the frontrunners for the Dragons' No.6 jersey at the start of the year, Field's 60 minutes was his first real stretch in the NRL after playing just 10 in the opening round.
The 19-year-old averaged 11 metres per run and busted through a tackle to remind McGregor he could be a credible option at five-eighth before Widdop's anticipated return next month.
"I'm at my best when I'm running," Field told AAP.
"I grew up playing fullback so my speed and my footwork is my biggest asset.
"That's why I try and get out there and run and create space for others through my running game."
Field has had his own injury concerns this year.
Since his round-one debut, he has battled rib, hamstring and knee issues to play just a handful of games for Illawarra in reserve grade.
He starred again in the halves for the Junior Kangaroos against their Kiwi counterparts last week and is back to full fitness.
McGregor could also move Mann back to the halves next weekend, with former New Zealand winger Kalifa Faifai Loa looming as a potential replacement for Aitken.