Schuster can still make it big in the NRL: Marshall

Benji Marshall has thrown his support behind out-of-favour Manly backrower Josh Schuster, insisting the most impressive debutant he'd ever seen can still be a star in the NRL.

Schuster was on Thursday granted personal leave by Manly, one day after being told by the club he was free to explore options elsewhere.

The Tigers are not interested in signing the 22-year-old, but Marshall has genuine sympathy for the youngster who will now sit out NSW Cup matches.

It was only four years ago that Schuster made his NRL debut playing against Marshall, prompting the Tigers star to label it the most impressive he'd ever seen after the match.

Schuster then impressed for Manly in 2021, showing the potential that Bob Fulton saw when he brought him to the Sea Eagles.

However a myriad of fitness concerns and a run of injuries have plagued Schuster since, amid questions over his conditioning.

A shot at the Manly No.6 jersey then failed in 2023, prompting Manly to eventually bring Luke Brooks to the club.

Schuster is yet to crack first grade this year despite signing a $2.4 million three-season deal last June, but Marshall still has faith the Samoan international can rebuild his career.

"Let me just say this: He's a really talented and a really good kid," Marshall told AAP at the opening of the Tigers' new Campbelltown office. 

"He's probably got a few issues he's dealing with at the moment. But if he got it right, there's no reason why he couldn't be a good player in the NRL. No reason. 

"I think there's this perception out there that he's done. 

"But if he got fitter and had a point to prove with a chip on his shoulder, in the right system he could be enormous."

Marshall knows the pressure that can be put on youngsters as well as anyone, having been a teenage star at the Tigers.

And he believed Schuster still had the ability to cut it as a five-eighth or backrower, once he got things right.

"What does he want to do? That's probably the bigger question," Marshall said.

"We've seen his talent. There's no doubt. It's early to write him off.  I think he's a really good kid."

Manly are hopeful Schuster's salary can be wiped from their cap in future seasons, if a payout can be arranged based on clauses in the contract.

Schuster's next destination remains unknown, with St George Illawarra having also ruled out making a play.

There is a thought Schuster could do with a coach like Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy, particularly at the right price.

But the former is without a job for next year, while Bellamy on Thursday said Schuster was not on Melbourne's radar.

"The retention committee haven't spoke about him at all," Bellamy said.

"I'm not quite sure we'd be able to fit him in dollar-wise. I think that would be fairly unlikely."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store