Josh Schuster's teammate speaks out amid brutal swipe from Kristie Fulton
The former manager of the pathways system has called out the maligned five-eighth.
Manly prop Josh Aloiai has attempted to quell the speculation surrounding Josh Schuster and the club as former staff member Kristie Fulton called out the youngster after the latest incident. Coach Anthony Seibold was the first to play down the training ground incident between Schuster and reserve grader Dean Matterson as the pair allegedly came to blows last week.
The pair needed to be separated by prop Aloiai, after a light-hearted exchange between Schuster and the brother of Eels' backrower Ryan Matterson turned serious. The prop claimed the incident had been blown out of proportion and that there was no divide in the Sea Eagles camp.
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"It's something that happens pretty often," Aloiai said on Monday morning. "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." However, Schuster's bust-up isn't the only issue facing the 21-year-old.
Schuster wasn't named for Manly on the weekend with staff standing him down to recover from a corked—quad injury. This is coupled with the five-eighth getting back to fitness.
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans was direct last week when he claimed Schuster's absence from the first team was a chance for him to work on his conditioning. And on social media, Kristie Fulton - a former member of Manly's pathways system - called out Schuster for his work ethic.
Fulton, the daughter of NRL legend Bob Fulton, claimed Schuster needed to 'control his diet' and 'grow up' in a candid post. "Too many enablers and excuse makers around him. It's always everyone else's fault," she wrote. The comments were re-posted on a Manly fan page with more than 12,000 members.
Teammate defends Josh Schuster in work ethic criticism
Fulton's children, Kristie and Scott, were instrumental in the pathways system set-up for aspiring players from western Sydney. Schuster was one of the late Bob Fulton's favourite players coming through the junior ranks.
Despite the criticism, Schuster has the backing of Aloiai. The prop defended Schuster and said the young playmaker was facing a tough time in the spotlight. Aloiai, a friend of Schuster, was confident the youngster would bounce back.
"He'll be alright, it's a lot of noise," Aloiai 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."
Last week, 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.”
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