Rugby League has always been a tough sport. It's a big part of why we love it - but the level of injury we're seeing this season has become ridiculous.
The new 'norm' is for sides to have seven or eight - some clubs even more - of their players out at the moment, hurt. And these are injuries across the board in both frequency and severity.
In the old days nearly everybody would be 'carrying' something: You'd have things strapped and stuff taped together. You can't do that with the pace of this modern game. You'd be mad to go out there not fully fit, and they probably wouldn't let you even if you wanted to.
Punters are wondering, given the attrition rates, who their sides are going to manage to get on the field by the time we get to the finals.
And then there's all these 'career ending' injuries - players hurt badly enough that they will more than likely never play again. The game is chewing up players and spitting them out on an unprecedented level.
And, hovering in the background, becoming ever more visible as the scientific data comes in (and becoming ever more worrying with it) is concussion.
To its credit, the NRL is acknowledging the issue, and, whilst not really coming up with any real answers - and the blunt truth may be that there actually aren't any for this level of contact sport - is at least not sweeping it under a rug.
Other sports are also attempting to come to terms with it: It has been big in the AFL news this week.
All of which got me wondering: in an environment where medical experts are beginning to identify possible serious long-term damage associated with 'heading' a soccer ball, how is this all going down in the boxing world where the actual point of the exercise is to hit somebody in the head? It certainly doesn't seem to be waning at all in popularity. If anything it appears to be going in the other direction with the incredible popularity of this even more brutal UFC business.
I asked my old mate Bob McLaughlin what he thought of it all. When it comes to both football and boxing McLaughlin knows what he's talking about. Bob was a national amateur champion. He played first-grade football in Sydney for the Wests Magpies and then came to Maitland to play in our premiership winning side of the sixties. He recently retired as boxing trainer at Hit'n'Dip where he'd been teaching the art for over 25 years. He's the son of renowned Australian Welterweight champion Ron McLaughlin. Bob draws a distinction between boxing and fighting.
"Boxing," he said to me, "is about self-defence. You need to be able to defend yourself - it's just a fact of life. And you can learn, and teach, boxing without anybody having to get hit in the head.
"Being a fighter is another matter. You'd better be pretty good. My dad told me, 'If you can't beat a right hand don't get in the ring'.
Meaning? "The big right hand's the one that does the damage. If you don't know how to avoid that then you shouldn't be there. Still, if you can manage not to get hit with a right hand, then boxing's not a bad sport ..."
But knowing what we know now?
"They should ban it," he answered without hesitation. "Anything that deals with you getting hit in the head? Forget about it. And the thing about concussion is that it's sort of cumulative. There can be a first one and then a second that maybe seems to happen a bit easier. And then possibly a third or fourth. They don't really know how to assess the damage and it's not just a matter of having a week off.'
The UFC? "It's even worse. A kick in the head is worse than a punch. The thing with the UFC is it hasn't been around all that long. Another ten years and we'll start to see some results from that."
Interestingly, McLaughlin sees the impacts involved in modern rugby league as being possibly more dangerous than those in the ring.
"With boxing you're sort of standing still. Now with football you've got big fit guys who can run 100 metres in 10 seconds running flat out into each other. Head clashes like that ... shocking. But at least with football you've got the sport to fall back on."
And that's the thing. As another commentator put it recently - head injuries in other sports occur when things go horribly wrong; with boxing it's when they go horribly right.
Would he do it all again I ask Bob? No, to both the footy and the boxing. "We just didn't know. Now we do. My dad started losing his memory in his sixties, he had some hard, hard fights."
Bob mentioned a few old acquaintances, many of whose latter years haven't been so good before asking me, "What about you, would you play?"
I did a not-very-quick-at-all inventory of all the injuries sustained and my first impulse was to say, no. But then, it was such a time, and everybody played. And we didn't know.
The hypothetical was a bit too difficult for me. I know one thing for certain though. I wouldn't play today.