Manly coach defends $800k star after ‘personal’ attack

Manly coach Anthony Seibold has hit back at the former high-profile Sea Eagles staffer who told young playmaker Josh Schuster to “control the diet”.

The maligned 21-year-old continued to cop flak as Kristie Fulton, the daughter of late Manly legend Bob Fulton and a former elite pathways boss at the Sea Eagles, launched a personal attack on Schuster on her Facebook account.

“The solution is simple, he needs to grow up,” Fulton wrote.

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“Move to Manly, cut ties with the negative influences in his life, stop hanging with fans, control the diet and have the mindset and attitude he once did circa 2019.

“Too many enablers and excuse makers around him.

“It’s always everyone else’s fault.”

Schuster has only played three NRL games this season due to battles with calf and quad injuries.

The five-eighth won’t face the ladder-leading Broncos in Magic Round on Friday night because he’s on the outer as he tries to get on top of his reconditioning, which was placed in the spotlight by Daly Cherry-Evans last week.

Seibold defended Schuster, a silky-skilled half with 38 NRL games beside his name, in an interview with Nine’s Danny Weidler.

“That’s a really personal thing,” Seibold said of Fulton’s dig at Schuster’s physique.

“I’m assuming a lot of the commentary is from outside the building.

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“He knows what he needs to do to play his best football and we’re working towards that.”

When asked if Schuster had an attitude problem, Seibold said that was “definitely not” the case.

“I’ve seen a guy who does work hard,” Seibold added.

“But like I say to all the players, the coach isn’t in charge of their career, the head of performance isn’t in charge of their career, their manager isn’t in charge of their career, their parents aren’t in charge of their career; the players themselves need to own their career and that’s where Josh is.”

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Seibold also claimed there had been no talks at Manly regarding the potential departure of Schuster, who’s been linked to a move to Wests Tigers.

The joint-venture club is reportedly chasing Schuster’s signature after poaching Scott Fulton, the son of the rugby league Immortal, from Manly.

“There’s been no commentary inside or conversations inside our building about that,” Seibold said.

“Josh knows where he stands with me as a head coach … That’s our starting six when he’s fit.”

Schuster is contracted to the Sea Eagles until the end of 2024 and is reportedly earning $800,000 this year.

Former Storm playmaker Cooper Johns, the son of Knights great and rugby league funny man Matty Johns, is the Sea Eagles’ No.6 while Schuster is sidelined.

Manly is placed sixth on the ladder after nine rounds and, in the game against Brisbane on Friday night, will be aiming to bounce back from a 26-10 defeat to Gold Coast.

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