Melbourne Storm star Billy Slater was almost cleared to make an unlikely return from injury in the NRL finals series.
Slater, 33, underwent surgery on his shoulder in March, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
But the full-back was pushing for a return, with the Storm facing the Cronulla Sharks in the grand final on Sunday.
Storm football director Frank Ponissi confirmed Slater was close to a surprise comeback.
"He was feeling great within himself, he started training and he just decided to ask the question then [in August]," he told SEN.
"The surgeon gave him a glowing report on how he was going, but probably stopped short of giving him the green light to play in September this year.
"It certainly would have been a very nice selection dilemma for [Storm coach] Craig Bellamy to have going into a finals series."
Even without Slater, the Storm have reached the decider, with the Sharks awaiting them at ANZ Stadium.