In between making coffee orders today, Debbie Ryles is clinging to the hope her son Jason's lifelong dream can be still be realised.
The mother and No 1 fan of the former Dragons and Roosters front row veteran - now with the Melbourne Storm - admits she will be "gutted" if injury prevents him from being part of a premiership winning team.
Having not played for the past month, Ryles was on track to return for tomorrow night's NRL preliminary final showdown with Manly.
Now his future hangs by the length of a torn hamstring, which he aggravated at training on Tuesday night.
"I'd be absolutely gutted," Debbie said.
"We have all been hoping this would be his big chance, we know how hard he has worked for it and how close he has come.
"I'd love for him to be there in the grand final, but every final is tough and Melbourne have to win [tomorrow] yet."
The official line from the Storm is the situation will be assessed today, determining whether he will be back for the grand final.
"He had a setback at training [Tuesday] night and his situation will be reviewed in the morning [today]," Storm football operations boss Frank Ponissi said.
At 32, Ryles has played for NSW and Australia, but a title remains the last item yet to be ticked off the list.
In 2005 and 2006, he was denied when the Dragons bowed out in successive preliminary finals.
In 2005 in particular, it looked as though the drought-breaking premiership for St George Illawarra - in their current and past forms - would come, until they were stunned by the underdog Tigers.
Then in 2010, the stars almost aligned after Ryles's return from a stint in the Super League, making it to his first grand final with new club the Roosters, only to be beaten by his former teammates.
Prolonging his career again by making the move south to Melbourne, Ryles's form warranted a contract extension for next year with the Storm.
But the injury setback has cast doubts over his longevity lasting into a 14th season.
He has played 15 Tests, including tours of England and France in 2001, 2004 and 2005.
After the 2008 campaign, Ryles's NRL career looked over when he left the Dragons to join Catalans.
Ryles is the silent partner in his mum's Corrimal coffee shop and he also owns a child-care centre in Sydney.
Debbie admitted it was one of the strangest experiences of her life to watch Jason in action in the 2010 grand final, against the club where he played 156 games between 2000 and 2008.
"It would have been great for him to win a premiership with the guys he grew up with, but it wasn't to be," she said.
"We're hoping this year would be it."