As the rugby league world comes down on Josh Schuster, there are calls for the talented 21-year-old to move closer to the club’s base on the northern beaches of Sydney in his quest to build better habits.

The Sea Eagles put the five-eighth on ice in what coach Anthony Seibold described as a “collaborative decision” to rehabilitate an ongoing quad injury and generally improve his fitness.

Schuster’s contract for 2023 is worth $600,000 but gets bumped to $800,000 for next year, the final season of his deal at Brookvale, making him one of the club’s highest earners.

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Schuster was involved in a training dust-up last week and had his work ethic and attitude questioned publicly.

Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth, NSW coach Brad Fittler said Schuster, the son of former Newcastle centre John, might need to relocate to Manly from Blacktown, in Sydney’s west, in order to get the best out of himself. Andrew Johns added that the commute in a car to the northern beaches every day after training can be detrimental “physically, for your body, especially your back.”

“I read something interesting, he doesn’t live in Manly,” Fittler said. “When I coached at the Roosters that was the first thing I identified.

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“We had a heap of the boys who lived out at Campbelltown, there was Mitchell Pearce who was living at St Ives, had a heap of boys at Cronulla, no one lived in the eastern suburbs.

“I said, ‘If you’re not going to move in, I’m going to put training at 5.30 in the pre-season.’ Then when I left they all moved in. Maybe there was something in that.

“Someone tells me the Tigers are like that. Nobody lives close. You’re always running to get home, thinking about traffic, the wrong things are on your mind.”

Earlier this week Seibold defended Schuster against attacks from former employees of the club, while also shutting down talk of Manly chasing out-of-favour Canterbury half Kyle Flanagan.

Seibold stated there was a pathway back for Schuster around the State of Origin period when Daly Cherry-Evans would be unavailable. However, Phil Gould believes no matter how the club defends the star player, they need to send him the message around the expectations for a player on such a hefty pay packet.

“There’s plenty of Josh Schusters around in junior rep football that look outstanding but you’ve got to look beyond the kick, the catch and the pass,” Gould said on Wide World of Sports Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

“It’s a small part, it’s the talent part of it. there’s so much more to being a winning professional footballer, not just making the NRL.

“If you’re going to be paying that sort of money they need to be with people you can win with and influence the scoreboard and others can follow. I don’t know if anyone’s had that conversation with Josh Schuster I don’t even know if he’s capable of that, he may well be. Maybe he has to change clubs for it to happen, I don’t know.”

Seibold defends Schuster amid criticism

Seibold said he’ll continue to stand up for the player against a media “pile on.”

“It’s a little bit like there’s been a pile on,” Seibold said of the attention on Schuster, who has been rested for a second-straight week and will miss Friday’s Magic Round clash with Brisbane.

“We made a collaborative decision to put him in a reconditioning block.

“I have been checking in on him because I feel as though there’s been a bit of commentary around him at the moment which paints him in a negative light when that’s not the case.”

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Bernd Schuster has explained his reasoning for retiring from the West Germany national team at just 24-years-old, citing major disagreements with the German federation that caused him to 

At 20, Schuster made his international debut, a year before winning the European Championship in 1980. Named in the Team of the Tournament, his performances across that season also earned him second place in Europe’s best player award, behind team-mate Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

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