Injuries are part of the game, to be sure, but NRL clubs that are seeing their casualty wards filled before the regular season gets underway may begin to question the risk involved in pre-season trials.

Four sides were hit over the weekend with significant injuries to stars who now, rather than round into form for the beginning of the season in less than a fortnight, must instead race the clock to be ready to play in round one.

Gold Coast lost hooker Nathan Peats for the opening rounds to a shoulder injury, which added injury to the insult of a 26 – 6 loss to the NZ Warriors.

Peats could be out for four to six games.

His backup, Pat Politoni might be missing for longer, with a clearly broken arm taking him off late in the game.

North Queensland winger Antonio Winterstein will miss at least the first round with a gimpy ankle that took him off after just six minutes. He could be out for as many as four games.

The Dragons, who can ill-afford to lose anyone, will play the best part of the season with a dislocated hip suffered during a loss to the Bunnies.

Penrith Panthers prop Sam McKendry re-injured his surgically repaired knee, lasting fewer than 20 minutes in a game against Parramatta.

The 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership has all the earmarks of turning into a Last Man Standing affair.