Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards will miss the start of the 2020 NRL season after suffering a serious ankle injury.
Edwards sustained a syndesmosis tear in his right ankle at Panthers training on Tuesday after getting his leg caught in an awkward position.
The 24-year-old will undergo surgery on Thursday and be sidelined for up to two months.
Edwards' misfortune potentially opens the door for Caleb Aekins to add to his four NRL appearances when the season kicks off.
Aekins and fellow fullback Daine Laurie, who is currently on an NRL development contract, have been named in Ivan Cleary's squad to face Wests Tigers on Saturday.
Cleary finds positives despite Nines heartbreak