Ryan Matterson has endured plenty of highs and lows throughout his NRL career but an old schoolteacher who doubted his playing ability got a cheeky mention when asked about his pending 100-game milestone this week.
Matterson will notch up a century of games in Friday night's clash against the Broncos following stints with the Roosters, Wests Tigers, and Eels across a decorated six-year career.
In between the on-field performances, Matterson battled the lingering effects of concussion in 2018 and more recently heavy criticism after walking out on a three-year contract with the Wests Tigers just 12 months into the deal.
However, when asked about the personal milestone on Monday, the former Roosters premiership-winner referred to an old maths teacher who he'd proven wrong most of all.
"I don't know whether he was trying to make me listen in class or what but he was adamant that he knew what quality rugby league players looked like and he said I wasn't one of them," Matterson said.
"I've been told all my life I'd never be good enough to play first grade.
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"I always said I wanted to play first grade, my old man [Paul Matterson] and my uncle [Terry Matterson], everyone in my family did that so that's what I wanted to do.
"Once I did that and proved the haters wrong I knew an obstacle wouldn't be able to hold me back.
"So to play just the one I was over the moon and ever since then I've played every game like it was my last.
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"I've always wanted to owe it to my family so to do it this week is a massive honour."
On a more serious note, Matterson said the Eels were desperate to find answers surrounding the side's recent struggles in attack after being kept try-less for the second time in three weeks leading into the playoffs.
The Eels were seen huddled in the sheds post-match after Friday's loss to Penrith with lock Nathan Brown and utility Will Smith doing plenty of talking.
"The boys spoke about staying tight, it's more important now than ever," Matterson said.
"We're not worried about the outside noise and all the media talk, how we set about rectifying things has got to be within the playing group.
"Come this week or finals it's only the 17 boys or coaching staff that can change that, it's about actions on the field."
Of the side's attack, Matterson added: "We're handing over too many possessions, I was guilty of that against Penrith when I tried to offload when it wasn't needed.
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"That's what kills you. When you have to tackle and tackle and tackle it takes it out of your front-foot attack so we've got to fix that."
Eels coach Brad Arthur has recalled Warriors loan duo Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings to the squad, while hooker Reed Mahoney is expected to be available for the clash after being sidelined last week with a shoulder injury.
The Eels can move a step closer to securing a top-four spot with victory over the Broncos.