Having missed out on finals footy for 2020, Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler is understandably keen to make changes for next season.
However, bringing back Kieran Foran to the club he won the 2011 NRL premiership with, could have a catastrophic effect for one of the Sea Eagles' brightest young prospects.
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Gun five-eighth Josh Schuster is viewed by many as a future star at the club and one of the most talented youngsters coming up through their ranks.
However, Channel Nine league reporter Danny Weidler revealed that if Manly do bring Foran back, then Schuster will walk away from the club.
Manly's plan to bring Kieran Foran back to Brookvale has hit a massive road block, with one of the club's brightest young prospects threatening to walk if the veteran half signs. @Danny_Weidler #9News pic.twitter.com/0TrTJS2tdr— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) September 22, 2020
“Schuster’s agent Mario Tartak has told Manly that if Foran signs then Schuster wants a release,” Weidler said.
Foran is not part of incoming Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett's plans for 2021 and the veteran playmaker would offer good value to Manly.
Schuster was named the NSWRL SG Ball player of the year in 2019 and Manly fans would be loathe to see the youngster leave the club.
One factor that could sway Schuster’s decision to remain with Manly are reports Hasler want Foran to play at hooker, not at five-eighth.
“Des wants to play him (Foran) at hooker,” Paul Kent said on NRL 360.
“Manase Fainu is not back until at least July next year, so they are going to play a good half of next season without an experienced dummyhalf.
“Kieran (Foran) is not an experienced hooker, but he can pass and he is a great competitor and he’s a footballer.”
Hooker dilemma looms at Manly
Manly's current hooker Danny Levi has been told he's not in coach Des Hasler's plans for the 2021 season.
Levi will be one of three Sea Eagles players left as free agents after next week, alongside back-up fullback Brendan Elliot and veteran Tony Williams.
The dummy-half has played every game in 2020 for Manly after falling out of favour at Newcastle last year.
Young gun Manase Fainu will remain stood down until his trial for an alleged stabbing incident in July, unless Manly are able to secure an exemption for him to return earlier based on COVID-19 delays.
Lachlan Croker has come off the bench and played there this year, while Cade Cust also has some experience at hooker.
While Foran's signing could be seen as a kick ins the guts for Schuster, others would argue his experience could help nurture the 19-year-old's prodigious talent.
Journalist Brent Read also thinks that by reuniting with his 2011 premiership-winning halves partner, Foran could help Daly Cherry-Evans rediscover his best form after an inconsistent season.
“Last weekend showed how much Manly need Foran because Daly Cherry-Evans was just one out,” Read said.
“He was doing everything on his own, but he didn’t have a lot of help. They had Lachlan Croker at No.6 and no disrespect to him, but he is not Kieran Foran.
“I think Foran will play No.6, Dylan Walker will go to the centres and Cade Cust will play hooker.
“I think as long as Kieran stays fit they will have a great season next year.”