A shattered Angus Crichton is out of the State of Origin series opener after the incumbent NSW second-rower was banned for two matches for dangerous contact.
In a brutal night for the Sydney Roosters at the NRL judiciary, Crichton unsuccessfully argued he believed Brisbane five-eighth Albert Kelly still had the ball when he hit him late on Saturday night.
The verdict came after Roosters teammate Victor Radley lost his battle on a high-tackle charge, ruling him out for five matches and the first two Origins.
And while Radley was only considered a likely option for the Blues at lock, Crichton was considered a certainty to play left edge on June 9 at the MCG.
The 25-year-old looked crestfallen when the verdict came down, with his plight made even worse by the fact he could have escaped with just a fine if not for two earlier offences this year.
"It's very disappointing. It's a tough one to take. It was a genuine mistake," Crichton said.
"It really hurts. It's tough, it's hard when (the NRL's crackdown on foul play) comes in mid-year. To miss games hurts.
"In the end I'm the one who has to be accountable for my actions, it's disappointing to miss games and let my teammates down."
In a 40-minute hearing on Tuesday, Crichton claimed he was expecting Kelly to dummy and run when he went across field, noting it was his rival's biggest play.
He also argued he was unsighted and did not realise the ball had been passed until after he made contact, which his lawyer James McLeod labelled an "innocuous bump".
"My only interest in this play is to kill the play and tackle the guy with the ball," Crichton told the panel.
"Halfbacks and playmakers, they show the ball and they hide the ball from us as defenders.
"In this instance I thought he still had the ball ... it wasn't until I had contacted him that I realised the ball had been passed.
"When I got up, I was confused (that he didn't have the ball)."
But the three-man panel of Bob Lindner, Tony Puletua and Dallas Johnson disagreed, claiming the contact was dangerous and Crichton had been careless.
"There is no attempt to make contact until Kelly passed," NRL counsel Peter McGrath had argued.
"In making the contact he was careless because he ought to have realised the ball was passed by that time."
NSW were at least given some reprieve on Tuesday with fellow second-rower Cameron Murray named to return from an ankle injury for South Sydney, enhancing his chances of selection.
Liam Martin's chances will now firm as will Penrith teammate Isaah Yeo.