Josh Dugan isn't getting his hopes up of being welcomed back by NSW next year in the wake of the chorus of criticism directed at him in 2017.
Dugan put a turbulent four months behind him to play a key role in Australia's World Cup final win over England on Saturday night.
The Cronulla recruit pulled off one of the biggest plays of the game when he came up with an ankle tap on opposite Kallum Watkins, who was sailing towards the try line late in the game.
He described the 6-0 victory as the "pinnacle" of his career and said it proved he could be a positive influence on a representative team after being shrouded in controversy this year.
"I'm not going to get my hopes up," Dugan said when asked if he's expecting to be picked for the Blues next year. "I think the way things were handled last year, it was a bit tough. For me it's about enjoying (the World Cup win), going back to Cronulla in January and putting my best foot forward for them."
The 27-year-old was criticised after it was revealed he had gone out drinking with teammate Blake Ferguson five days out from the Blues' State of Origin three loss in July.
He reiterated his defence that the incident had been blown out of proportion and it had not affected his build-up to the decider.