Manly stand by Schuster on fitness and training bust up

·3-min read

Manly players insist Josh Schuster is not a spent force at Brookvale, adamant a training-ground bust-up is already history and that the Samoa international can regain his fitness in the No.6 jersey.

Schuster will remain sidelined for Friday night's clash with Brisbane for "reconditioning", after an unhappy return last month from calf and quad injuries.

Seen as one of the shining lights of Manly's future, Schuster has struggled to string consecutive games together in recent years amid a run of soft-tissue injuries.

He was then embroiled in further drama over the weekend, after it emerged he was involved in a scrap with reserve grader Dean Matterson.

The pair needed to be separated by prop Josh Aloiai, after a light-hearted exchange between Schuster and the brother of Eels' backrower Ryan Matterson turned serious.

Aloiai was insistent on Monday the issue had been blown out of proportion and had already subsided, and that there was no risk of a split in the Sea Eagles camp.

"It's something that happens pretty often," Aloiai said.

"A lot of the time there are not people there to report on it. The more people that talk about it, the bigger it gets. They add GST like the ATO (Australian Tax Office).

"When you get 35 highly competitive men in an environment for 40 hours a week, things boil over sometimes.

"I have been involved in little bits and pieces; most people have. You usually laugh about it and tease each other about it after.

"That's already what's happening. Don't try and disconnect us, we're all good."

Schuster's fitness is a bigger issue for Manly.

The 21-year-old has already shown enough to prove that if Manly are to be genuine contenders, they need him firing at five-eighth.

But he has not been able to deliver there consistently, and has regularly been challenged by halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans to take charge of his own career.

Schuster was also targeted by Kristie Fulton on social media on Monday, with Manly's former pathways boss posting on social media he needed to "grow up" and "control his diet".

The playmaker has close links with the Fulton family, having been brought to Manly by late club great Bob Fulton, whose children Kristie and Scott were instrumental in the pathways system set up for aspiring players from western Sydney.

"He'll be alright, it's a lot of noise," Aloiai, who is close with Schuster, said.

"It's a lot to take on for a young kid. But that brings out the best in him sometimes, a little bit of pressure.

"There is a real clear plan about how we want to get him back to his best at the moment.

"As a young kid he couldn't have more people that really care about him and are supporting him.

"That is the most positive thing - there is a plan. And very soon we will have Josh at his best because we really need him."