Johns refers defamatory email to

A defamatory email containing accusations against Andrew Johns has reportedly been referred to police.

The message, which filtered through to the mainstream press this week, has been circulating the internet for a number of days.

The email makes claims that Johns has been sidelined this season for reasons other than his injured neck. The email also claims that the NSW and Australian captain was retiring.

The NRL has thrown it's support behind Johns with David Gallop slamming the email and its contents.

"We have absolutely no reason to believe anything in the email is true," NRL chief executive David Gallop stressed.

Johns was ruled out in August because of a severe injury which forced him into a neck brace. He suffered from neck and arm spasms caused by a protruding disc in his spine.

The email is an attack on the character of Andrew Johns and has been referred to police by his management. It's understood that legal action against the email's author is being pursued.

Newcastle CEO, Ken Conway, said: "I can't believe anyone could sink to the level of fabricating information obviously intended to damage the personal and athletic reputation of Andrew."

Its understood that Johns has no intention of retiring and will be returning to the football field in 2004.