Warriors forward Adam Blair said the impending milestone of joining the NRL's 300-game club had placed an unwanted weight on his shoulders.
Speaking ahead of Friday night's match against the Titans, Blair said the distraction of reaching game 300 was partly to blame for the series of below-par performances which ended with him being dropped last month.
"For me most probably [it was] a bit of a burden over my head," Blair said.
"I was trying to protect that [milestone] and it probably took away from my performances and what I was doing really well. So you could say it was a bit of a hindrance for me.
"At the start of the year, I thought about it ... I have put it in the background for a fair while, mainly because I had been thinking about it a lot.
"But I'm here now and I'm really excited and happy that I am back in the team playing football again."
Blair will become the 36th player to reach 300 games and the third New Zealander after Ruben Wiki and Simon Mannering.
Now in his 14th season in the NRL, Blair reflected on the early days of his career. The fear of returning to New Zealand after failing at the Melbourne Storm drove him to his early success.
"When I signed to leave New Zealand I was going for two years and then coming home, that was always in my mind that I was going to come home," Blair said.
"But I was loving it that much that I wanted to stay ... I didn't want to be that person that failed and came back to [my hometown] Panguru or Whangarei and all your mates ask you what happened."
With the Warriors staring down the barrel of three-straight defeats, coach Stephen Kearney said his main concern for Blair is that he continues to play good football and remains in the Warriors' 17.
The 33-year-old was dropped after the round eight loss to the Newcastle Knights. In his two games since returning he has been among the side's best defenders, averaging 46 tackles in losses to the Broncos and Storm.
"It's a pretty significant achievement. You look at Kiwis who have played 300 games, Ruben Wiki and Simon Mannering, and he's about the join some prestigious company," Kearney said.
"[But] Adam just needs to go out there and execute his job.
"He's a competitor, he's an experienced player and he knows how to work himself back into the situation.
"I thought he was pretty good on the weekend [against Melbourne], I thought he was really good against the Broncos.
"That's what guys of his experience do; they work their way out of it."
Warriors five-eighth Kodi Nikorima, who has played with Blair for the Broncos, Kiwis and now Warriors, said the fact that Blair is held in high regard by coaches such as Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy says it all.
"The things he brings to teams that go unnoticed are those effort areas – getting the kick chase, leading the line speed, tying in – all those little things that stats can't measure," Nikorima said.
"He's always been big on that and I think that's why these coaches sign him.
"I know Wayne Bennett had big wraps on Blairy and was sad to see him go [from Brisbane]."