All the little whispers hurt. Every rumour stung. And Anthony Watmough didn't miss either.
But Daly Cherry-Evans reckons it was worth enduring years of hearing he had rubbed teammates the wrong way after finally being asked to make the Queensland No.7 jersey his own in next week's State of Origin game three.
All seems to be forgiven for Cherry-Evans who will end three years in the Origin wilderness after answering an SOS from an injury hit Queensland to replace halfback Ben Hunt for July 11's dead rubber.
Cherry-Evans has been welcomed back despite rumours that the Manly skipper had fallen out with the Maroons during his last Queensland stint back in 2015.
The Sea Eagles playmaker admitted enduring the speculation was tough, insisting no Maroons player had ever brought up an issue with him while in previous Origins camps or since.
But Cherry-Evans reckoned he wouldn't change a thing, saying it helped steel him to grab his second chance at the Maroons No.7 jersey.
"Unfortunately off the back of a few bad games those rumours gained momentum and at the end of the day I wouldn't change anything, I honestly wouldn't," Cherry-Evans said at the Maroons' fan day at Hervey Bay on Tuesday.
"It would have been great to not have had a three-year exile from Origin but that's the reality of the situation.
"I know it has helped put me in the position I am now. I am excited about where I am at as a footy player and the relationships I can build within this side."
Cherry-Evans has also been accused of being a polarising figure at his NRL club Manly, and this year alone had a well documented dust up with the Sea Eagles' Jackson Hastings.
However, the 29-year-old Cherry-Evans insisted former Manly teammate Watmough's infamous podcast spray last month was the first he had heard of any bad blood with players.
"It's never nice hearing stuff about yourself," he said of the criticism.
"It's a tough one. There's no quotes or comments about it (Origin rift), it's just rumours.
"No one has actually come up and told me except for Anthony Watmough."
Cherry-Evans was overlooked for the first two Origins this year despite a string of injuries and the retirement of the Maroons' Big Three, further fuelling rumours that he was on the nose at the Maroons.
The Manly No.7 admitted he still wasn't expecting a call for game three but was now ready to stake a long term claim on the No.7 jersey.
"Anyone playing halfback in the Origin arena is going to have a nice dark cloud over their head, that just comes with the territory," Cherry-Evans said.
"But I think I am a lot more ready than a couple of years ago when I was given an opportunity."