Luke Keary insists Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' monster suspension won't end the Sydney Roosters' season, as the Tri-colours weigh up whether to fight the prop's pair of three-match bans.
Heading into the final week of the season, the NRL's minor premiership, home finalists and top eight all remain undecided, with 10 teams still in the running for the playoffs.
Six of the eight games will have a bearing on finals positions, with none more influential than Friday's do-or-die match between the Roosters and South Sydney.
But the battle could now begin three days earlier at the NRL's headquarters at Moore Park, if the Roosters attempt to keep Waerea-Hargreaves' season alive.
The rugged forward was on Sunday handed a grade-two dangerous contact charge for his late hit on Tigers halfback Apisai Korisau in Saturday's 32-8 victory.
That offence carries a minimum three-match ban, with a fourth match added if the Roosters attempt to fight the charge and lose.
Waerea-Hargreaves was also charged with a grade-one striking offence for headbutting Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu in a brawl following the late shot.
That offence carries the same punishment.
As is often the case with Waerea-Hargreaves, the Rooster's horror judiciary record has come back to bite him.
If he was a cleanskin, a one-game suspension would be available.
Instead, the 34-year-old's three previous charges this year mean an extra five games have been added on.
The Roosters now have three options to consider before midday on Monday.
If Waerea-Hargreaves accepts both bans, his domestic season is over and he will also miss at least part of New Zealand's end-of-year Test campaign.
The Roosters could elect to fight or downgrade one of the charges, and have Waerea-Hargreaves back for the preliminary finals if they make it that far.
If the Tri-colours want their most experienced prop available for Friday's blockbuster with Souths, they will need to fight both charges and win.
Regardless, Roosters players are adamant they can do it without Waerea-Hargreaves if needed.
They have won three of five games without him this season, most recently a 34-12 win over Parramatta a fortnight ago when Waerea-Hargreaves was suspended.
"He's one of our leaders," Keary said of Waerea-Hargreaves on Sunday.
"He's been a huge part of this club for a number of years. We'll miss him if he is not there but we will get the job done if he's not."
Out of the top eight since round 11, the Roosters will still be relying on other results to make the finals if they beat Souths.
Cronulla and Canberra also meet in a battle to host a home final, with the loser still a remote chance of missing the playoffs.
Brisbane and Penrith are still jostling for first on the ladder, while the Warriors and Melbourne are both assured of top-four spots.
Newcastle are also locked into their first final since 2006, with a fifth or sixth finish guaranteed.