Ian McCullough, Russell Jackson August 09, 2012
Sharks star Todd Carney has revealed the torment he experienced because of false speculation of a failed drug test and accused the rumour-mongers of trying to damage his NRL career.
Carney, who has successfully rebuilt his reputation after being axed by the 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 Origin 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 supporting 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.
''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.''
■ WESTS TIGERS captain Robbie Farah has challenged his teammates to lift defensively or risk oblivion.
The Tigers produced a magical second-half display of attacking rugby league to come back from 22-6 down to beat cellar-dwelling Parramatta 51-26 on Monday night.
Led by the mercurial Benji Marshall, the Tigers ran in nine tries, including four to rookie winger Marika Koroibete, but it's the five four-pointers conceded Farah is worried about.
With four rounds remaining, the Tigers are eighth on the ladder and play 12th-placed St George Illawarra at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Farah said a big improvement was needed from the team.
''The 50 points, I guess, was pleasing but, defensively, we let ourselves down and there's a lot we need to work on for us to compete against the top sides in this competition,'' Farah said.
''What we threw up on Monday night was not good enough. Our mojo is not back. Come and talk to me in three or four weeks if we've strung a couple of wins together.
''We've only won a game and I don't think teams will be worried about us at the moment.''
Farah was pleased about Marshall's return to form after the halfback carved the hapless Eels to pieces. AAP