Article by Paul Kent in tomorrow's paper

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Peter C

Bencher
Article in tomorrow's Telegraph by Paul Kent, it appears that we may have to wear Schuster's contract, unless some other club will take him on, I hope it's incorrect



Paul Kent: Danger facing Josh Schuster and why his next move is career-defining​

Josh Schuster is at risk of becoming nothing more than a memory of a brilliant young player. As he enters the most crucial decision-making period of his life, his next call needs to be spot on, writes PAUL KENT.
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom



NRL: Josh Schuster has been granted personal leave by the Sea Eagles.

Sometimes, it must be said, player managers do their jobs just too damn well.
The latest exhibit is Josh Schuster, currently residing at Brookvale but with no forwarding address.
Schuster is one of those brilliant young players in danger of being remembered as a brilliant young player, which doesn’t have the gravity you might believe it should.
It is usually accompanied with a What Could Have Been …
And part of the concern in these quarters is that sometimes, as appears to be in Schuster’s case, his manager has done such a good deal he has priced his client right out of the market.
He has nowhere else to go.

By way of recent example, Josh Reynolds walked into Ray Dib’s office at Canterbury one bright sunny morning and told him of an offer Wests Tigers had dropped in his lap.
This was sometime back in 2017.
Dib fell back in his chair clutching his chest but, after a quick trip to the liquor cabinet and a cool down, shrugged it away.
All he could do was wish Reynolds the best, saying Canterbury could not come anywhere near matching the Tigers’ offer and he simply had to take it.
Reynolds played three years at the Tigers but that was as good as it ever got.
With a year still to run the coach who pushed for the deal, Ivan Cleary, had long left for greener shoots at Penrith and the new coach came in and saw the weight in the Tigers’ salary cap and moved Reynolds on.
In some ways, Reynolds had priced himself out of the NRL market. All that was left was a move to the English Super League.
It happens all the time in the NRL, just not as spectacularly as these instances.
Similarly, Manly has told Schuster he is free to go.


The problem is Schuster’s current deal has priced him out of the market.
Schuster is about to start an $800,000 a season contract and before it even begins it is already far too much for any other club to consider taking him off Manly’s hands to put on their salary cap.
Certainly for a player just 50 games into his career with a whole heap of potential yet to be realised.
Still, the Sea Eagles are looking to cut their losses and this week’s decision to give Schuster permission to leave shows they are prepared to take the financial hit.
Under salary cap rules, Manly has to make up the difference in any offer from a rival club, which is where the money is earned for managers.
If Schuster’s manager Mario Tartak thought he turned water into velvety wine with this current deal, the next one might set him straight.
The Sea Eagles spotted his prodigious talent and decided, in the arms race that is rugby league, ‘We’re not going to lose him’.
In the end, though, they were bidding against themselves. They just didn’t realise.
Josh Schuster has a critical period of his footy career ahead of him. Picture: NRL Photos

Josh Schuster has a critical period of his footy career ahead of him. Picture: NRL Photos

Now the Sea Eagles might have to pay as much as half the contract to subsidise wherever his next deal lands him, if not more.
It will come at some cost to Manly, as the $400,000 they will likely pay to subsidise Schuster’s next contract is $400,000 they can’t put towards another player, which is significant.
The Rugby League Players Association is watching and getting armed to take up the fight on Schuster’s behalf.
And then it gets really complicated.
Schuster’s case deserves understanding and trust.
He needs to be a careful study.
The word out of Manly is that Schuster is still grieving the loss of his best friend and teammate Keith Titmuss.
Titmuss died after collapsing at training in 2020 and the whole situation was horrific for everybody involved.


No doubt there will be an ache somewhere inside him that can’t be massaged away.
Others close to Schuster say this is a throw-off, though, in pure football terms, and a story pushed by Manly to explain his unhappiness at the club.
Stories stating there are clauses in his contract surrounding his weight and training are also dismissed as spin.
Again, the RLPA is starting to bounce on its toes at suggestions Schuster could be let go for failing these so-called clauses.
The belief from those close is that Schuster simply no longer enjoys playing at Manly and that the change definitely is needed, and a chief reason for his lacklustre form at Brookvale.
On top of that, recent personal issues in his life have also recently burdened him.
The hope is that Schuster gets it soon, because while being regarded as overpriced is one thing, it is recoverable from.
The greater danger is that Schuster finds somewhere next and fails to go on with it through his own bad habits.
Josh Schuster has struggled in reserve grade at Manly in 2024. Picture: NRL Images.

Josh Schuster has struggled in reserve grade at Manly in 2024. Picture: NRL Images.
The game’s history is filled with unfulfilled talent.
Pick up any Australian Schoolboys team photo and there will be a kid in there that others will shake their head at and point to as the kid that could have been anything.
The reasons are varied.
It can be as intense as the pressure of expectation or as simple as a poorly located fast food drive-through that just happens to be on the route home for training.
Some just can’t say no to a cheeseburger.

Any considerable time out of the game, as Schuster is suffering from now as he plays reserve grade, can also be damaging.
Jack de Belin got stood down for two seasons under the NRL’s “no blame” clause and the NRL can say all they like about the benefits of the rule or how it might actually prolong a career by saving on weary and tear but, on the evidence so far, it does nothing but damage a player’s future.
Footy players without footy for any extended period are never the same.
De Belin, for instance, was stood down as a current Origin player and has got nowhere near a Blue jersey since returning despite all the iron he shifted in the gym in the meantime.
Players suffering back-to-back long term injuries also suffer, seemingly beyond the extent of their injury, given their time away from the game.

Schuster is a prodigious talent and now is perhaps the most crucial time in his life so far.
His manager Tartak needs to be spot on with his next call, he needs to land at the right club, the moon has to be right and Schuster has to decide himself what he wants to be.
The world is full of truck drivers who say, if only …

AND just like that, it is gone …
 
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Nordburg

First Grader
Yet another story with a different interpretation of what’s going on.Kent is close to the Fulton clan,very close to one of them a few years ago,allegedly.So like every journo,you take into consideration the agenda’s of their sources before you start to believe anything.Interesting that he mentions the RLPA and that they are “getting armed to take up the fight”.The RLPA are as weak as an Aaron Woods tackle or as damaging as a JakeT hit up.This is the same mob that we haven’t heard a single word from all week about one of their representatives and the controversy surrounding his 300th first grade game.
The media have handled the Schuster situation very poorly since the day he re-signed
 

Heckenberg

Reserve Grader
Yet another story with a different interpretation of what’s going on.Kent is close to the Fulton clan,very close to one of them a few years ago,allegedly.So like every journo,you take into consideration the agenda’s of their sources before you start to believe anything.Interesting that he mentions the RLPA and that they are “getting armed to take up the fight”.The RLPA are as weak as an Aaron Woods tackle or as damaging as a JakeT hit up.This is the same mob that we haven’t heard a single word from all week about one of their representatives and the controversy surrounding his 300th first grade game.
The media have handled the Schuster situation very poorly since the day he re-signed
Isn’t dce the head players rep for the rlpa. And he’s literally called schuster out for being lazy. Can’t see this being an issue.
 

Darren

Bencher
You can't blame Keith's death in 2020 for this. All of us have had to move on with loss of family and friends. It's probably a case of Josh not loving footy, maybe he's always felt the pressure to make the big money for the family and set them up for life. You see other similar kids loving it, it's just his heart isn't in it and you can't tick the box in the NRL. I see it at school all the time.
 

nightster

The older I get the better I was
Premium Member
Tipping Member
You can't blame Keith's death in 2020 for this. All of us have had to move on with loss of family and friends. It's probably a case of Josh not loving footy, maybe he's always felt the pressure to make the big money for the family and set them up for life. You see other similar kids loving it, it's just his heart isn't in it and you can't tick the box in the NRL. I see it at school all the time.
we all handle/cope with trauma differently
 

BOZO

Journey Man
Tipping Member
The media have handled the Schuster situation very poorly since the day he re-signed
In the End is it all about how we Manly handle our selves on and off the field that counts
Bring on the Warriors
and Bring on the Winning Manly Way
When Manly Wins We Shut all the Fckers up
Every one Bows Down to Winners !
 
If he isnt happy at Manly anymore then maybe it is better for both parties to part ways. This seems very similar with the Moses Suli debacle at the Westigers years ago. They signed him on a big contract and for reasons I cant remember, they let him go and the Bulldogs picked him up and then the same thing happened there and he ended up with us and it may have been for similar reasons and we didnt have to pay much freight for him
 

Peter C

Bencher
If he isnt happy at Manly anymore then maybe it is better for both parties to part ways. This seems very similar with the Moses Suli debacle at the Westigers years ago. They signed him on a big contract and for reasons I cant remember, they let him go and the Bulldogs picked him up and then the same thing happened there and he ended up with us and it may have been for similar reasons and we didnt have to pay much freight for him
Very similar, except that Suli was signed up by the Tigers for 330K a season straight from the juniors, however he was quickly snapped up by the Dogs with the Tigers probably contributing very little or if anything, it did'nt work out there and he moved on to us, probably on similar money, where he started to find his feet, but Suli was starting from much lower contract base.
Nicho Hynes was in a similar situation with us 8 or so years back and we decided not to extend his contract, the writing was on the wall with Schuster regarding his attitude and dedication yet we decided to extend and upgrade his contract to elite player status, go figure.
 

Damien2812

Bencher
Whatever is true regarding if the club had clauses in the contract is key if we are to get close to $800k of cap to use on upgrades and to chase another quality player. The club did the right thing moving on from Schuster since he has had plenty of chances in getting himself right while the club stood by him with letting Foran go. 😔
 

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