Daniel Carter will run out at Eden Park tonight to face 15 men looking to take chunks out of him - which is nothing new.
What is slightly unusual is that a growing band of once mesmerised critics is also determined to have a piece of the man who is universally recognised as the greatest No 10 to play the game.
It's a curious state of affairs - that Carter is trying to write the last great chapter of a great career, while half the nation has already penned his obituary and is increasingly frustrated the great man hasn't given up the ghost and anointed Beauden Barrett as his successor.
Equally curious is the continual benchmarking of Carter against his 23-year-old self who destroyed an abject British Lions side in 2005.
It's not realistic to believe he could replicate that performance ad infinitum - nights like that can happen only once in a career, in the same way Bob Beaumont never again got close to his 8.90m long jump record.
The second test against the Lions 10 years ago has become a career red herring - it tells nothing of Carter's real value and alludes to him having been the sort of player he never was.
throughout New Zealand, from first XV to Super Rugby, the biggest failing of first-fives is in their strategic understanding and game management.
Coaches at all levels lament they can't find a No 10 who knows the art of calculated, deliberate and highly skilled dissection.
Carter stands alone as New Zealand's tactical director extraordinaire, the chess grandmaster who is two steps ahead and has the luxury of knowing an opposition defence is broken long before they do.
Last week in Nelson, he showed he's lost none of his ability to read the game and execute an effective gameplan. And those are the qualities the All Blacks are after.
They don't need their No 10 to rip holes, they need him to be making them for others.
Julian Savea, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams are the explosive weapons - but they need someone to light the fuse, to put the All Blacks in the right places on the field.
Again, this is what Carter - as he showed against the Hurricanes - does better than Barrett, Slade, Cruden and everyone else in the world.
But it's Carter's lot these days to feel the impatience of those who are seduced by youth and their conviction that young legs will always beat an old head.
Everyone, it seems, is a sucker for a first-five with a good running game. Make a few eye-catching line breaks and it can paper over all sorts of technical and tactical deficiencies.
Not that Carter cares about or particularly notices any of the public forums. Commentary on his form is white noise to him.
"I don't really pay much attention to be honest," he says. "It's not about me playing well to try to keep other people happy. I don't go out there saying to myself that I have to keep the public happy. It's about me knowing that when I finish playing the game I have to be satisfied within myself.
"I really enjoyed last week as we were missing a few key players and we had no choice but to step up and a couple of us had to lead."
It's his intention to step up again tonight - to turn that screw a little tighter in terms of both his individual and the collective performance. The Crusaders need five points to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and for that to happen, they need Carter to orchestrate the performance.
A young and inexperienced Blues side look horribly vulnerable; if the Crusaders flow as they did last week, it could get ugly.
And as much as tonight will be critical in determining the fate of the Crusaders, so too will it have a significant bearing on how the next month or so will look for Carter.
If he can follow up last week with another quality performance, the doubters will quieten and the All Blacks selectors will feel they can pick him at No 10 by right rather than reputation.
"On a personal level there is a real motivation for me to finish well," says Carter. "I haven't thought beyond the Crusaders, but it was a week ago that I thought, 'hang on, you have only got three guaranteed weeks left in the competition. So there is a choice: cruise through that timeframe or really step up and make a difference and be proud'.
"I would hate to look back and think that I cruised through. This team [Crusaders] has given so much to me and has been such a big part of my career that I couldn't forgive myself if I cruised through it and didn't take responsibility for giving something back."