NSW State of Origin skipper Boyd Cordner says suggestions he should be dropped as captain hurt, but his form is good enough to retain the Blues leadership.
Cordner has come under fire from former Blues coach Phil Gould, who claimed he wouldn't select him for the Origin opener because the Sydney Roosters star's game had stagnated.
Cordner admitted being stunned by the comments from the Blues' most successful coach.
"It does hurt a bit coming from such a guy like Gus. But at the same time, it's not much use me dwelling on it and thinking too much about it now," Cordner said on Tuesday.
Gould questioned Cordner's impact at representative level and said St George Illawarra second-rower Tariq Sims was in better form, and that he would choose James Maloney as skipper.
"For me, Boyd Corner's football has stagnated over the last two or three years," Gould said on the Nine Network's 100% Footy program on Monday.
"He runs the one line, at the one time, every time. There's nothing varied about his play; never passes the ball ... I think Tariq Sims is going by far the better."
Cordner believed he had worked himself into some form after a poor start to the year for the Roosters, who have crawled to seventh despite being title favourites in the summer.
He labelled 2017 as the best season of his career, but says he struggled in the first four rounds this year.
"To tell you the truth, I thought my game's been getting better with years gone on. Last year was my best year of footy," Cordner said.
"I can agree with my first month of footy, (that it) wasn't the best. I totally agree with that. (But) I thought that my form has been improving.
"As a player I'm never satisfied. I'm always trying to strive to be better: a better teammate, and captain here at the Roosters. I'm confident of where I am as a player and my abilities and strengths as a leader."