Benji Marshall is sure he wouldn't have returned to the NRL from that horrific injury Chris Lawrence suffered but he knew his Wests Tigers teammate could.
At the start of 2019 Lawrence was left unrecognisable when his face was shattered in a freak training accident in New Zealand, leaving surgeons to piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle.
The Tigers veteran needed seven plates in his face but was given the final tick of approval by doctors to return to the field midway through last year.
Marshall called it the worst thing he has ever seen in rugby league.
"I don't think I would have come back from that, no," he said on Wednesday.
"Because it's Chris I knew he could come back, just the way he goes into tackles with no fear.
"Honestly, it was the worst thing I've seen in rugby league, that injury, so it's a credit to him.
"I know it's just words when you talk about toughness and resilience but if you were there and you saw it and you could feel it, it's really painful.
"But the way he's come back from it, that's Chris."
The pride and history between the two club veterans is evident as they prepare for their 250th NRL games for their beloved club on Saturday.
Although Marshall's career took him to rugby union, Brisbane and St George Illawarra before settling back with the Tigers, Lawrence is a one-club man.
Marshall was sidelined for Lawrence's NRL debut in 2006 but he remembers watching the teenager with a 'Justin Bieber' haircut race down the sideline to score and thinking he was a star in the making.
"Just seeing him grow from that kid doing his HSC to now one of our main leaders and the heart and soul of this club, it's very special for him," Marshall said.
It's equally as humbling for Lawrence to achieve the milestone alongside Marshall, with both players tied on 84 tries - a record for the Tigers.
"Considering some of the injuries and setbacks I've been through, there was a point in time last year when I thought I'd played my last game," he said.
"(Benji is) going to go down as one of the best players in the game and a guy who changed the way the game has played, so I'm very proud to be doing it with him."
Australian Associated Press