STAR North Tamworth backrower, Josh Schmiedel, might have played his last game of rugby league.
The former Country star is heading to Sydney tomorrow for an operation to save the sight in his right eye.
Schmiedel, 32, suffered an accidental hand in his right eye late in the recent win over Kootingal at Kootingal Oval.
"Jordan Sharpe was trying to knock the ball out of my arms when I was scoring," Josh Schmiedel said.
"His hand hit me in the eye. It was accidental, just one of those things that happen in a contact sport.
"I came off and had a shower and kept watering it. My pupil was dilated and vision was cloudy but I thought it was just a knock."
He went to work for the next couple of days but when it got worse I went to the optometrists.
They found a retinal tear and detached retina and advised he go to Sydney straight away for surgery.
He had that surgery last week but heads back tomorrow for another operation to save the sight in his eye.
He has no sight in that right eye at the moment but hopes the new operations right that will enable him to return to work and, hopefully, to the football paddock.
"Hopefully it does come back and I can go back to work and maybe play again as well.
"It's pretty disappointing. I've really enjoyed playing back with the Bears again. We've been going well. Blanchy (North captain coach Scott Blanch) rang me to see how I was and all the boys have been in contact and sent their best wishes.
"Jordan Sharpe also apologised. He didn't have to, it was just an accident. There are no hard feelings there and I thank him for doing it. It was just part and parcel of the game."
He's spoken to his bosses at work as well and they are fully supportive as well.
"They just said get it right and get your health right."
While he "can't see himself playing again this year" he's hoping it won't end his playing career.
"At this stage I'm just making sure I get back to full health before I make any decisions. If I can't play I'll make sure I do something positive with Norths and help Blanchie out."
After six games of the Tooheys Group 4 season Josh Schmiedel is leading the first grade tryscoring with 12 tries, five more than teammate Andrew Moodie (7) and six ahead of Gunnedah halfback Matt Brady.
He started the season on fire, scoring three tries in the first game of the season against Werris Creek.
"We wouldn't have stopped him with a sledgehammer that day," Werris Creek co-coach Ron Dellar said recently.
Schmiedel's excellent form also has him equal third on the Group 4 Best & Fairest Award table, four points behind leader Daniel Jobson (10), three adrift of teammate Jake McManus (9) and equal with Kootingal prop Chris Vidler (6).
The Bears will line up against Gunnedah in Sunday's Grand Final replay at Jack Woolaston Oval.