Daly Cherry-Evans has challenged his young teammate's work ethic after Josh Schuster was once again left out of the team to play this weekend's NRL fixture. Schuster was left out of Manly's squad this weekend to take on the Titans with the 21-year-old working on reconditioning due to a persistent quad injury.
The five-eighth has only played back-to-back games once this season as he struggles to form a partnership with Maroons halfback Cherry-Evans. Schuster's absence this week sparks yet another halves shake-up for Manly and the captain challenged the youngster to come back stronger.
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"We know how good (Schuster) is when he's out there, he's a fantastic player," Cherry-Evans said. "Not having any continuity has been hard for the team, let alone him who actually has to go through it.
"It's never a fun time when you're in and out of first grade through injury. It's not going to be easy for him to get back into first grade, because he's been quite inconsistent and coming in and out.
"There's work to be done there, obviously, but I hope he knows he's got a lot of support around here."
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph's Brent Read, Cherry-Evans was a little more direct when he said the setback could be the 'fire' Schuster needs to reach the next level.
“I have been playing long enough to see so many people at this club not maximise their opportunity,” Cherry-Evans told the publication. “That is rugby league mate – if you’re not willing to work hard enough, if you’re not willing to sacrifice, you just don’t last long.
“He is at a crossroads early in his career but it can be a real positive. This doesn’t have to be a negative for him – spending some time away to get his body right, this could be a defining moment where he takes off to that level we all know he can."
The NRL 360 panel said Cherry-Evans' comments were worrying for the club as the youngster needs to impress his captain. The Daily Telegraph reporter Michael Carayannis claimed on the show Schuster was on $800,000 a year, which could be set to increase.
“If you read between the lines there, he (Schuster) has got to work harder," Host Braith Anasta said of Cherry-Evans' comments.
“He’s got to work harder at everything and that’s the part of evolving and growing and maturing as a player as well. So you can forgive him, but when you’re on 800k the patience wears thin.”
Daly Cherry-Evans praises old teammate Kieran Foran
One battle Cherry-Evans is looking forward to this weekend is against his old teammate Kieran Foran. The duo won a premiership together at Manly before the five-eighth moved on.
"We would have loved to finish our careers together, we make no apologies about that," Cherry-Evans said. "We loved our time together as mates and also out on the footy field, we feel like we built a really good connection.
"He's so competitive and I know he's going to be looking at our game and finding ways to pick us apart this weekend."
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