For Aaron Woods, the adage rings true.
'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.'
Turning out in 14-consecutive Origin matches for the Blues – sighted on every occasion since earning his first start in 2013 – Woods was told to surrender his New South Wales jersey this season.
"My footy wasn't up to scratch at the start of the year," Woods said of his Origin non-selection.
"[Canterbury-Bankstown] weren't winning games, the style of footy we were playing wasn't good enough."
Woods' self-assessment was harsh, but fair.
A lot of people were asking me if I still supported (NSW), of course I do. I was born and bred New South WalesAaron Woods
The 27-year-old has had countless detractors since bursting onto the NRL scene in 2011, but amidst all the noise, he remains his toughest critic.
Carrying a big price tag and the expectations to fit, the Balmain product was forced to find a new home this season. Twice.
But sitting back and watching the Blues' Origin triumph from afar, Woods' desire to regain his place in the New South Wales team was fuelled.
"The move to Cronulla, it was hard... I can't thank Shane Flanagan [enough] for giving me the opportunity. 'Flano' and his assistants Jim Dymock and John Morris really gave (me) a lot of confidence... it was a really good way to finish the year," Woods said, sporting the green and gold of the Australian Kangaroos, at the end of an up-and-down season.
"You don't realise what you've missed out on until you actually sit there and watch the boys play.
"I had some really, really close mates play in the New South Wales side. A lot of people were asking me if I still supported (NSW), of course I do. I was born and bred New South Wales. I was so happy when they did win.
"Seeing blokes like 'Teddy' (James Tedesco), 'Big Klem' (David Klemmer) and 'Jakey' (Jake Trbojevic), I was so pumped for them... hearing their stories, you feel like you missed out on a lot.
"To then come into a side like this, I'm still pinching myself."