Written in blood: Why Josh Schuster won't get his way with Des Hasler

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Pictured left is Manly coach Des Hasler and young star Josh Schuster on the right.
Josh Schuster's management team have reminded Manly coach Des Hasler about a promise to play the young gun at five-eighth. Pic: Getty

Shortly before his death, Bob Fulton was talking all things Manly when the conversation turned to the future.

"I tell you, this kid is the closest thing I've seen to Wally Lewis," Fulton told this columnist.

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"He is a once-in-a-generation player … just watch the way he moves and the time he has with the ball.

"With his size and skill, they can build a side and a club around him at five-eighth."

Fulton was, of course, talking about Josh Schuster.

At that stage the youngster had seen precious little first grade as the cautious Des Hasler resisted all calls to give him a permanent spot.

The more they clamoured for 'Schuey', the more Des dug his heels in.

Schuster was eventually given his shot, mainly as an edge backrower, and exhibited the touches of class that so excited Fulton.

Manly's Josh Schuster is seen here playing against Parramatta in the NRL.
Josh Schuster has been a revelation for Manly since making his NRL debut in 2020. Pic: Getty

It convinced Hasler, if not everyone, Schuster could wear the No.11 or 12 and be just as effective while leaving Kieran Foran, the coach's favourite, at six.

Once upon a time, that would have been subject over, case closed.

The only problem is it seems the kid – or, at least, his management team - is not willing to bide his time and wait for Foran to move on, or be moved on.

Josh Schuster regarded as a future Manly five-eighth

This week's revelation Schuster's manager wrote to the club reminding the top brass of its 'promise' to play their client at five-eighth during their last contract negotiations is on the money.

If it wasn't correct, Hasler had a chance to shoot it down at his weekly press conference but instead danced around the issue.

And there's been no denials from Team Schuster.

The first problem for Schuster and his management is promises aren't legally binding.

Problem number two is the man they allegedly brokered the deal with – Stephen Humphreys – was last seen walking alone in the rain contemplating his next career option after being moved on as CEO last month.

The Sea Eagles, who go through bosses quicker than Lord Alan Sugar sheds underlings on The Apprentice, currently have no-one in charge.

Problem three is Hasler won't give a stuff what was promised or agreed on anyway, even if it was written in blood.

And nor should he.

He has total control of team selections and lives and dies by his results.

If an Immortal couldn’t convince him Schuster's best position is five-eighth, what chance a player manager in a shiny suit carrying a vested interest?

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