Raiders star Blake Ferguson high-fives school children during training this week. Photo: Jay Cronan
Melbourne Storm centre Will Chambers should count himself lucky.
Try being a Raiders fan, because this year has felt like being in the vice-like squirrel grip of Sam Burgess all season.
Once again, and pardon the expression, but it's Blake Ferguson who has Raiders supporters by the short and curlies.
After all that has happened this season, even the mere possibility that Ferguson would consider asking for a release from the final two years of his Raiders contract is one of the most unpalatable headlines of the year for fans.
And there has been a litany of negative headlines.
Ferguson fined in the pre-season for allegedly spitting on patrons at a music festival.
Ferguson spared the axe, but suspended one week, for skipping training to drink with Josh Dugan on a rooftop.
Ferguson charged with indecent assault during a drinking session in Cronulla, on the eve of camp for Origin II.
Ferguson cut from the NSW Blues and suspended by the NRL for four weeks, pending a court appearance.
There have also been stories of disgruntled senior Raiders players, unhappy the club had given Ferguson more patience than punishment for his ongoing indiscretions.
Then, just one week after returning to the field from his six weeks on the sidelines, and demonstrating against the NRL competition leaders just what an incredible football talent he is, a newspaper story breaks that Ferguson may be seeking a permanent return to Sydney to be closer to family and his mentor Anthony Mundine.
The Raiders have dismissed it as a media beat-up. They claim they won't waste breath asking Ferguson if there is any truth to it, and he wouldn't get the release even if he sought one.
Raiders forward Joel Thompson tried to flip the situation after the story broke on Wednesday, tweeting:
''BREAKING: Another Raiders headline to disrupt us for an important game. Funny how we only get media attention on negative stories.''
Ferguson, however, is the only person who can shoot the messenger on this occasion - if he ever chooses to shoot down the story at all.
As I pointed out to Thompson via Twitter, if the story was untrue then Ferguson should have said so immediately.
By doing that, a perceived negative story would become a positive one for Raiders fans. Their troubled star could have declared his loyalty to the club that had shown so much faith in him. There would have been no disruption to the Raiders.
Instead, the story, true or not, will now linger until Ferguson denies it.
While the Raiders didn't go looking for an answer, the fans deserve one.
I tried to get a response from Ferguson, by Twitter and by phone - voice messages and texts. He rang back at one stage, mistakenly I assume, because he hung up when I answered.
It may be that Ferguson doesn't believe the article warrants a response, but until he settles it, it will unsettle fans.
Contract releases are tricky. If a club stands firm and denies a player a release, will they really get the best out of that player? If they grant the release, it potentially throws the club's planning process into chaos and gives a rival team a leg-up.
It can put players in a powerful and dangerous bargaining position.
The plea for contract releases on compassionate grounds are even trickier.
After months of speculation that he wanted to return to Queensland, it has emerged this week that Bulldogs star Ben Barba has officially asked for a release to be closer to family. If granted, he's expected to link with the Broncos.
Raiders rookie sensation Anthony Milford has also asked for a release on compassionate grounds, given his father Halo has health concerns.
The Broncos want him too and there is speculation the 19-year-old has already agreed to terms to go back to his home town Brisbane in 2015, if he can't get released before.
Ethically, it's hard to deny the cases are genuine.
If Ferguson was to ask for a release, it would be tougher to accept.
Despite his troubles, the Raiders re-signed Ferguson for two more years in May.
Not only did they stand by him then, but they have continued to do so even though he faces his next court appearance next month.
The Raiders have invested heavily in his welfare and off-field rehabilitation. They have also been supportive of his positive relationship with Mundine, a teetotaller.
It's hard to argue that a move to Sydney would be best for Ferguson's welfare.
So now speculation arises that Ferguson, in the best form of his life, is trying to cash in.
The Sharks are the club said to be circling.
Remember, Cronulla supporters aren't exactly Ferguson's biggest fans after he left the club saying he wanted to win a premiership.
The first time he returned to play at Cronulla with the Raiders, Sharks fans threw beer at him. The last time he was there, that we know of, he was charged with indecent assault after a drinking binge to celebrate his Origin selection.
If Ferguson thinks he can find a more trouble-free life in Sydney than in Canberra, he's lost a grip.
So Fergo, just say it ain't so.