Todd Carney has told rumour-mongers trying to damage his NRL career to think of something better to do, after revealing the torment behind false speculation of a failed drug test.
Carney, who has successfully rebuilt his reputation after being axed by Sydney Roosters last year for a series of off-field incidents, said he was shocked at how an internet rumour gathered pace via Twitter.
The 25-year-old's form this year earned him a first State of appearance for NSW, which was when rumours began to circulate that he'd failed an in-house drug test.
Carney initially tried to ignore the whispers but when sponsors, who'd backed him after his departure from the Roosters, started to ask questions, he knew he had to respond.
"Usually, I laugh at some of the things people say about me," Carney said.
"But when you go and see a sponsor and that's one of the things they bring up, it's hard to keep giving answers to.
"Then I get a phone call late at night from my mum. Someone, and I don't know how they got her number, had rang her to tell her about it.
"That is the worst thing, when your family is getting upset. I kept it from her as I didn't want her getting upset or worry about it. Then that happens."
Carney denied his form was affected by the situation and thanked his coach Shane Flanagan for publicly coming out in support of him.
"Flanno called me when he first heard and I was in contact with my manager," he said.
"He said it was a good opportunity to get it out there after the Warriors game which was good of him.
"I was playing with a few injuries and that affected my football. There was only one or two games where I didn't play to my potential.
"But other than that, I was quite happy with my form."
Carney, who was also sacked by Canberra in 2009, said he had no idea who started the rumours, but said it would not destabilise him or the club.
"They're getting their little bit of fame out of it and the person who started it is probably sitting back and laughing about it," he said.
"But they are going to have think of something better than that - at least come up with true facts.
"I was quite shocked that someone could make up something like that.
"It's just stupid, because I hadn't even been tested in that time so it was just wrong and disgraceful."