Te Maire Martin has opened up on the cruel rumours that threatened to derail the young Cowboys five-eighth's season and reputation in the game.
The 21-year-old has relished the opportunity to replace injured halfback Johnathan Thurston in Townsville and help guide the Cowboys to their seventh straight finals series.
It wasn't all smooth sailing to begin the season however, with the former Panther behind a rumour that wouldn't go away.
"I read the paper that speculated which half got dropped for sleeping with another teammate's missus," Martin told NRL.com.
"I don't know how it started and it seemed funny at the start but then they kept going and I was getting questions about it regularly from different people.
"Even though I'd tell people no they'd still look at me weird and that was frustrating that no one believed me.
"It got annoying but the boys knew it wasn't true and as long as they knew that I didn't care."
Martin could only put the speculation down to coincidence.
A fortnight prior the promising talent was dropped from the Panthers' first grade side after they suffered a 28-2 loss to the defending premiers Cronulla.
It proved the five-eighth's final game in Penrith colours with Anthony Griffin and Martin's management granting him an early release.
"It was the week before I got dropped back so they put my face to that article," he said.
"Hook got angry about it and how something so untrue could go on for so long. He just told me to try and find some form in reserve grade because I had a shocker against Cronulla, then he and my manager got talking.
"They wanted to play Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth and were thinking about putting Matt Moylan in the halves to try and spark something.
"My manager give me the option of coming up to Townsville and playing alongside a guy like Johnathan Thurston and I was stoked.
"I had to jump at it."
 Martin Te Maire - Cowboys
Martin insists his relationship with his former club is still strong.
Penrith even went out of their way to release a statement with general manager Phil Gould commending the Turangawaewae junior's personality and effort at the club amidst the speculation.
"I messaged Phil and thanked him for that, I appreciated it and he didn't have to do it," Martin said.
"I really enjoyed my time at Penrith and have great mates there that I still talk to now.
"I would've liked to have stayed there but I had to look at the future for me and what I thought was going to develop my game and under JT and Morgo I don't think a better opportunity could've come along.
"I'm really trying to take it with both hands."
Cowboys coach Paul Green declared Martin set the tone for the much-needed win over the Wests Tigers on Friday night with a simple approach of taking on the line.
With no guarantee of a first grade spot before the Thurston injury, Martin has proved a handy replacement.
"He's been really impressive since he's come to the club," Green said.
"He's a young kid keen to learn and works hard on his game. We spoke about playing that style of running first before passing and I thought he typified that.
"His knee is not 100 per cent and typical of the team in the last six weeks, he's fronting up each week even though he's got an excuse not to play."
Martin saw it differently from the coach.
"It's good enough to run on so it's sweet," he smiled.
"We've got a lot to improve on playing the Broncos and after their loss to Parramatta they'll be out to prove a point.
"It was a crucial game for us and if we can take our second half performance into next week's game we're a great chance."
A potential clash with the Panthers in the finals is possible should both sides get through in the final round.
"That would be good, I've missed out on two games against them," Martin said.
"We'll see what happens."