Criticism of his State of Origin performance didn't pierce the tough skin of Mitchell Moses as the Parramatta playmaker readies for a return to NRL action.
The NSW Origin half copped the brunt of the fallout from the Blues' 20-18 loss to Queensland in game three last month until it was revealed he played through a painful back fracture.
The injury forced the 26-year-old to miss the past three games for the Eels, coinciding with a concerning drop in form that has Brad Arthur's side fighting to keep their place in the top four.
Before of his return against third-placed South Sydney on Friday night, Moses said he paid no attention to critics that claimed he went missing in his Origin debut considering the pain he was in.
"It was a pretty painful one. I've had some pretty bad ones before but it's up there," he said.
"If I showed that, I would have had a lot more traffic coming at me and I had to do my best. We didn't have anyone to fill in on the bench that could fill in at halfback.
"I had to bite down on the mouthguard and get through the game.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"It doesn't worry me what everyone else thinks. Everyone who is close to me in the squad let me know how I went and that was all that mattered really."
His return for the Eels comes as a boost for a horror run of games to close out their home-and-away season.
Last week's 28-0 loss to Sydney Roosters did damage to their top-four hopes before they face the Rabbitohs, Manly, Melbourne and Penrith in the next month.
"We play some really good sides and most of the sides are in the top six," Moses said.
"It's going to be tough but these are the games you want to be playing when you go into the finals. It's a good test for us to go into the finals.
"We started off the year really well and put ourselves in a good position to play finals footy now so it's about where we finish on the ladder.
"Top four is the goal and it's been the goal since the start of the year."
Elsewhere, the Roosters have named Dale Copley to start on the wing against Penrith on Saturday after confirming his signing earlier this week to boost their depleted backline.
Trent Robinson's men also received a boost when prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was cleared to play after being found not guilty at the judiciary of his dangerous contact charge against Parramatta lock Nathan Brown.
Tevita Pangai Junior has been named on the interchange bench for his first game with the Panthers as they look to fight off Souths to keep second spot on the ladder.
Nathan Cleary was named on an extended bench in a positive sign he's close to returning from a shoulder injury.
St George Illawarra copped a huge blow with skipper Ben Hunt ruled out for at least a month with a fractured arm, while Zac Lomax, Josh McGuire, Jack Bird, Jack de Belin, Blake Lawrie and Mikaele Ravalawa all return to the side to face Canberra on Friday night.
Australian Associated Press