The Wests Tigers are at breaking point after captain Robbie Farah told club officials he was not coming to training on Wednesday because he believes he has been hung out to dry over the wrangle with coach Mick Potter.
And the hole is about to get deeper for the club with halfback Luke Brooks's shoulder injury worse than expected.
The 19-year-old is considered a doubtful starter against the Storm on Monday, with suggestions he could be sidelined for a month.
Farah's teammates were stunned when he failed to show at Concord Oval for training on Wednesday afternoon. Some were angry their leader snubbed the side in one of its darkest hours, as the pressure mounts on Potter.
But others remain genuinely concerned, as they know the personal toll the past few days have taken on their captain.
Those closest to Farah said football was the least of his priorities at the moment.
Fairfax Media understands Farah's manager, Sam Ayoub, told Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer on Tuesday night that the NSW hooker was not coming in. The Tigers tried to stage-manage the fallout as best they could with Potter saying, via a statement: "I was more than happy for Robbie to have today off training considering the circumstances. He will return later in the week."
At the heart of the issue is that Farah feels deeply betrayed by his club because he has been pushed forward as the one who wants Potter sacked. Farah is furious comments backing Potter at a media conference on Saturday were edited out for the club's website. Then, at the weekend, he was forced to defend allegations from Triple M's Gorden Tallis that Farah had told him Potter was "struggling".
Those remarks to Tallis were made 15 months ago.
The Farah camp insisted the comments were taken out of context, that he supports the coach and has not undermined him.
Consequently, a showdown is looming between captain and chief executive.
Mayer denies the club has hung Farah out to dry.
"I don't think so," he said. "I think Robbie has had a traumatic time, and I sent out a very strongly worded release on Monday saying it was completely unacceptable the way this has played out for a club captain and life member."