Josh Schuster was a popular candidate by many to make the leap into NRL superstardom in 2022 – but the Manly young gun has failed to kick on after a breakout 2021 season.
After playing one game in 2020, Schuster was a key cog in the Manly machine on their run to a preliminary final last season, with plenty of highlight reel plays along the way.
The 20-year-old was one of seven players who missed last week’s game due to an objection to wearing the Pride jersey, but while others have returned to the fold, Schuster was only named 18th man by Des Hasler for Friday night’s must-win clash against Parramatta.
READ MORE: Diamonds rocked by historic loss to Jamaica
READ MORE: Doctor floored by hidden illness Aussie fought through
READ MORE: Aussie boxer robbed after Games ‘outrage’
AS IT HAPPENED: Commonwealth Games 2022 day 7 results
Attitude and application have been Schuster’s enemy in 2022, with Andrew Johns putting it bluntly.
“He’s not fit – he’s too big,” Johns said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.
“I think if you sat down Josh, he’d admit he’s too big. He came back from the off-season, by all accounts, put a lot of kilos on.”
Johns has been a huge fan of Schuster in the past, going as far as to name him an 18th man in a hypothetical Origin side last year.
Josh Schuster in action for the Manly Sea Eagles. (Getty)
But this isn’t the first time in 2022 that the Newcastle legend has spoken about Schuster’s fitness, expressing similar concerns back in May.
NSW coach Brad Fittler was equally perplexed as to the back rower’s conditioning.
“Getting fit’s the easy part,” added Fittler.
“Especially now – you’re at training six hours a day.”
Schuster had been touted as the successor to Kieran Foran in the No.6 jersey at Brookvale, with the veteran heading to the Gold Coast next year.
NAS the luckiest man on earth to escape suspension: Freddy and the Eighth – Round 21
But Johns insists that Schuster needs to be careful with his future, both on and off the field, if he wants to reach his full potential.
“Being a pro doesn’t mean being a pro at training – it’s living it,” Johns said.
“What you eat, what you don’t eat, what you drink, what you don’t drink – getting your sleep, getting your life in order. Treating your body well, treating your injuries.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Uniform controversies that have rocked sport around the world