Eight plates holding an unbreakable footy star together
A year ago on Thursday, Chris Lawrence was readying to fly home from New Zealand with a face that, put simply, had collapsed.
Think broken jaw, smashed nose, busted eye sockets, broken cheekbones, collapsed palate, dislodged teeth, even fractures in the busted bones themselves.
All up, this Wests Tigers backrower so disfigured his own daughter would take weeks to recognise him after eventually having eight metal plates inserted all over the jigsaw that was his face.
"Yep, eight plates," Lawrence tells The Daily Telegraph now. "And they're never coming out, either.
"Those plates, they're what holds my face together".
Now aged 31, Chris Stephen Lawrence is the man rugby league cannot kill.
Sure, the game has tried.
Like in 2011, when this NSW Origin hopeful dislocated his hip so badly against Canberra, it took "five or six people" to put the busted joint back in.
Or even last October, when off contract and seemingly unwanted by the only club he has ever known, this ageing Tiger began planning to move full-time into his management training company, One Wellbeing.
In 2014, it was a run of hamstring injuries that had Lawrence seemingly shot.
While a year on from that, and having gone the best part of 12 months without scoring, it was his move into the second row which, undeniably, loomed as a Last Chance Saloon.
Yet still, this toughest of Tigers players hung in.
Adapted and endured.
Which is why he now stands on the eve of his 15th NRL season.
"Which I'm definitely proud of," Lawrence says.
"This time a year ago, there was a real fear that I wasn't going to come back.
"I know there was a lot of people who had written me off."
Almost a year to the day since having his face horrifically smashed - in a training clash with teammate Ben Matulino during training - Lawrence is not only back for one more NRL season, but in a race with fellow Tigers favourite Benji Marshall to reach 250 games.
Currently, the backrower sits on 240 matches, one behind Marshall.
Ahead of them both on the list of most capped Tigers is retired No.9 Robbie Farah, who sits first with 277 appearances.
Quizzed on his undeniable ability to endure, Lawrence says: "Once I retire I'll probably reflect more on the things I've had to overcome.
"But I'm definitely proud to be here, especially after the past 12 months. I'm well aware of how quickly things can change in rugby league."
Better, Lawrence reveals his long list of setbacks has actually helped, rather than hindered, the latest comeback from injuries his surgeons likened to a car crash.
"Having had setbacks already, it's definitely helped with this," he said.
"In fact, if I hadn't already developed strategies required to deal with these sorts of things, like I did earlier on in my career, then this might have been much tougher to overcome.
"But over time I've learned the mindset required to overcome and get yourself right, to get back on the field."
But as for starting to feel a little, err, old?
"When I look at some of the teenagers here at Wests Tigers, absolutely I feel old," Lawrence laughs.
"But then I'll look across at Benji Marshall, who is (four years) older. That helps.
"And at training, he's still killing it. Still improving.
"Which is my goal, too.
"I'll leave all the reflecting until the end of my career … whenever that is."