Adam Reynolds insists the groin injury that left him "touch and go" for South Sydney's 36-16 dismantling of Manly won't scupper a potential fairytale finish to his Rabbitohs career.
Wayne Bennett and the Bunnies finally broke their preliminary duck from both during his tenure and before it, fourth time proving a charm as Cody Walker and Damien Cook carved Manly to pieces.
Both Reynolds and Bennett have just 80 minutes left at Redfern, with a grand final send-off against either Melbourne or Penrith now a reality before both take their services north of the border.
Reynolds took a backseat against the Sea Eagles on Friday night, nursing a groin strain that was picked up on Tuesday and kept quiet right until he took the field for a pre-game fitness test.
Match: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
The Broncos-bound star told Triple M after full-time that he was "touch and go" to play before downplaying the injury's significance when he joined Bennett for post-match media duties.
Bennett conceded playing Reynolds with both their cardinal and myrtle careers on the line was "a risk" but pointed to a nine-day recovery for next Sunday's grand final as ample time for the injury to heal.
"He had an injury that [meant] he was pretty close to not playing," Bennett said.
"The thing he couldn't do was kick. We didn't know if he'd get through the game either but we took the risk and we managed to pull it off."
The showtime Rabbitohs at their absolute best!
Reynolds took 30 minutes to warm up towards kicking and came off early when the game was won, adding that a dressing room exchange with Bennett convinced both he could play through the pain.
"I obviously wanted to be out there with the team," Reynolds said.
"There was a little moment in the change rooms there where Wayne and I looked at each other but it was never really seriously going to see me miss the game."
Redfern's favourite son was always going to face a grand final week of intense focus given his exit to Brisbane next year still rankles plenty in the Rabbitohs fan base.
The spotlight will simply intensify despite protests the injury will not be an issue.
Bennett makes his exit now with a remarkable 10th grand final appearance, starting the festivities with a stunning post-game broadside at the Broncos hierarchy that punted him.
No doubt he is well aware that one last Rabbitohs triumph would make him the first coach since Tim Sheens in 2005 to do so after being sacked by their previous club.
The Sea Eagles woes meanwhile began before a kick-off that was delayed by 15 minutes, Des Hasler's team bus requiring a police escort through traffic to Suncorp Stadium.
Marshall with soft hands for Graham
Their incredible season ended up under the wheels of it even with Reynolds battling early, largely because Walker was in his element.
Two opportunistic first-half tries answered concerns that have often come around big games for him.
Cook too stood tallest where in previous finals he has been tough to find, laying on a show-stealing four-pointer that shot the Sea Eagles down for good.
South Sydney already enjoyed a 12-0 advantage thanks to Walker's first – which saw three players fumble a dribbling kick before he nabbed it – and the obligatory Alex Johnston try.
Paulo moonwalks his way to a double for South Sydney
Reynolds' first kick of the night started the play in the 30th minute, but Cook's left-foot dink when the bomb came down left it in the shade.
Walker of course was right where he needed to be, on the end of a glorious grubber for an 18-0 lead.
With only seven completed sets and another seven squandered through poor handling at that stage, Manly were as complicit as anyone in their downfall.
Blake Taaffe played a significant part too in a team that supposedly had no hope without Latrell Mitchell, making himself at home once more in the No.1 and taking the goalkicking duties from Reynolds.
Jaxson Paulo's double – scoring a try either side of half-time – doused the briefest of Manly fightbacks that was given hope when Reuben Garrick got on the scoreboard.
Garrick had already been denied a first half try due to obstruction, a fate Tom Trbojevic shared as well when he fumbled over the line, but the blips only compounded Manly's mire rather than consigning them to it.
Right to the end the Sea Eagles kept fighting with Garrick and Trbojevic both eventually scoring when the game was gone.
Their prelim performance though was still nowhere near worthy of the most entertaining of campaigns.
For South Sydney it could well be written in the stars.
Fitting farewells for Reynolds and Bennett, not to mention Dane Gagai, Jaydn Su'A and potentially Benji Marshall, are all now just one game away.
The story writes itself. And the requisite grand final injury plotline falling to Reynolds only adds to it.