SYDNEY - Queensland rookie Aidan Guerra's football career was over almost before it started.
Recognised as a potential future star, Guerra joined Melbourne's under-20s squad as a talented if not quite hardworking teenager.
His ability impressed first-grade coach Craig Bellamy, but after suffering a shocking ankle injury in the lower-grade competition the hard-running Sydney Roosters back-rower, who plays his second game for the Maroons in State of Origin II today, was told at one stage he might never play again.
That was before he had even made it to the NRL.
Guerra had played on with the injury that was finally diagnosed as a fractured ankle and then had to have the ankle re-broken in order for it to heal properly.
Dark times indeed for the 26-year-old premiership winner and an indication of how far he has come.
His former Storm teammate Steve Turner remembers a promising young player trying to make it through.
"You always knew what a good player he was and that one day he would make it to where he was, but they were really tough times for him back then," Turner said.
"He was a young bloke and just finding his way and you can imagine how tough some of those setbacks were.
"Aidan was often struggling with injuries and I guess at one stage he even he wondered if it was worth it."