Josh Schuster cops big new blow as rugby union wary of Joseph Suaallii-style backlash

EXCLUSIVE: Another door has closed on the NRL player as he looks to find a new home.

Josh Schuster's hopes of playing football at any level this year continue to vanish after rugby union joined the rest of the NRL in confirming there was no interest in taking him off Manly's hands. It comes amid a warning from two of the game's greats that the 22-year-old utility risks joining the ranks of gifted players who failed to match potential with performance.

Schuster's immediate playing future is uncertain given he won't return to the Sea Eagles and there's been no bites from rival clubs. Schuster's mental wellbeing is the main priority as his management team works through the separation from Manly and investigates future options.

Joseph Suaalii and Josh Schuster in the NRL.
Joseph Suaalii's controversial contract means rugby union won't want a bar of Josh Schuster. Image: Getty


A return to rugby league this year – even on a drastically reduced contract - is no guarantee. Now it can be revealed a possible avenue into rugby union has been blocked, with the 15-man code decidedly cold on the idea of luring another league convert.

That's despite the Schuster family's impressive rugby pedigree. Former All Black and Newcastle Knight John Schuster is Josh's uncle, while his grandfather represented Samoa in rugby.

"There is no money available in Australian rugby. Literally every dollar has been accounted for," one union official told Yahoo Sport Australia. "And with all the criticism over the (Joseph) Suaalii signing, you'd be a brave person to even consider making a move for Schuster. That's not something rugby union will be pursuing."

Andrew Johns, Josh Schuster and Billy Slater.
Andrew Johns (L) and Billy Slater (R) have hit Josh Schuster (centre) with some hard truths. Image: Getty/AAP

Josh Schuster cops truth bomb from Billy Slater and Andrew Johns

Meanwhile, Queensland Origin coach and Melbourne great Billy Slater fears Schuster may never reach his full potential because he doesn’t want it enough. Rugby league history is pockmarked with players who had the ability but not the drive.

Slater told the Sunday Footy Show: "At his best there are a whole heap of clubs that could do with him (Schuster). (But) our game is a tough game (and) it’s not for everyone.

"You can’t talent your way through our game. You look at the best players and they're all the hardest workers - Nathan Cleary, Kalyn Ponga, Cam Murray. That allows their talent to shine."

Eighth immortal Andrew Johns added: "Is he willing to go through all that hard work to let his talent shine? That's the question Josh must ask himself. There's a price to pay to play at that level and if you're not willing to pay the price every day, you won't get there."