Twenty-six stitches have given Rabbitohs forward Jason Clark his 15 minutes of fame in the United States.
The South Sydney journeyman was forced from the field late in the first half of his team's 22-20 comeback win over the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night after knocking heads with Eels' rake Isaac De Gois.
The 26-year-old was taken from the field for immediate treatment after the sickening collision with De Gois while running a hit-up in the 35th minute.
While De Gois stayed on the field despite blood - either his or Clark's - smeared across the left side of his face, Clark was taken into the away team's dressing room to have a nasty cut running from his forehead down to his left eye stitched up.
He returned to the Rabbitohs' bench in the second half and was reportedly ready to return to the field if needed.
The heartwarming story of a player putting his noggin on the line was a popular one on the site, stirring debate about the position of head injuries in professional contact sports.
With more than 100 comments on the story, Clark was labelled heroic by some readers and moronic by others.
Jason Clark, meet Mr.Met pic.twitter.com/E5HmxImIO3— Triple M NRL (@TripleM_NRL) May 13, 2016
Here's the best of the comments:
- "Lol. Been hit in the head way too many times. Looks somewhat permanently concussed," username lukearmac wrote.
- "Keep doing you Jason Clark!!! Don't let the doctors and naysayers stop you from using your head," username gobbledykook said.
Thankfully, Clark wasn't needed and he was able to sit out the rest of his team's two-point victory with the sickening head cut closed up.
One photo of Clark's Frankenstein's monster-looking melon went viral online - even making its way onto the popular sports page on social news site reddit.com.
- "Welcome to rugby, where the men are separated from the boys," username cahmstr wrote.
- "Not much rugby in the US but damn love hearing s*** like this especially when our athletes miss games and weeks at a time for sore shoulder, pinky injury, thigh bruise lol. Grow some and look at this warrior," username skillz90969 wrote.
- "He looks like he's growing a baseball on his forehead," username ClarkGriswold2 posted.
- "Honestly, Rugby players seem like a whole nother breed of man. Are you sure it was blood in the pic and not pure testosterone," username AskmeaboutWoTMUD wrote.
Clark's forehead was also popular with fans on Twitter.
Believe it or not, life actually got a lot worse for Clark on Saturday morning.
The City Origin representative player was reportedly involved in a car collision while driving to his team's recovery session.
He did not appear to have been injured in the car crash when he arrived at the Rabbitohs' headquarters in Redfern on Saturday morning.
Clark was symbolic of South Sydney's apparent attitude improvement on Friday night.
After four straight losses going into the clash, South Sydney mentor Michael Maguire credited his team's win over Parramatta to his players undergoing an attitude change during the representative round break.
He praised his charges' fight after Parramatta went into the game as sentimental favourites and with the league community cheering them on.
"We've been through a fair bit ourselves over the last month. There have been various games that we weren't pleased with and there were areas where we were," Maguire said.
"We had to work really hard for the things that work for us.
"There was a lot against us and everyone wants the fairytale, obviously with what Parramatta have been through I feel for them, that creates the swell of momentum against you and that's why I'm so proud of them."
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur praised his side's effort and commitment, but with their top-eight aspirations hanging by a thread, he urged his troops to banish finals football from their minds.
"I give them a rap for their effort and their commitment, it was a tough week, but we move on from that straight away," Arthur said. "We can talk about the technical aspects when we do video during the week. They were disappointed."
News.com.au with AAP