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“Fittler Unveils Major Hurdle in Manly’s Directive for Exiled Star Josh Schuster”

Rugby league legend Andrew Johns has pinpointed the Gold Coast Titans as the ideal destination for a player of Josh Schuster’s caliber, amid news that the struggling Manly Sea Eagles have given the green light for the $800,000-per-season playmaker to explore other club options. However, former NSW coach Brad Fittler has cast doubt on the feasibility of any potential deal, citing substantial hurdles that may impede Schuster’s departure from Manly.

Fittler, speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth, expressed skepticism regarding the likelihood of other clubs being willing to match Schuster’s hefty salary package. Despite Manly’s confirmation of Schuster’s permission to seek alternative arrangements, Fittler asserted that the player’s considerable earnings could deter potential suitors. He questioned the practicality of terminating Schuster’s contract outright, given the financial implications involved.

Unlike situations where players seek contract terminations, such as the case of Zac Lomax, Schuster’s potential exit is driven by the club, necessitating careful consideration of contractual obligations. If Schuster were to join another club, the Sea Eagles would either need to ensure his full contractual entitlements are honored or absorb the financial disparity. However, with uncertainties surrounding Schuster’s market value, clubs may be reluctant to invest beyond a certain threshold, especially if there’s no competitive bidding for his services.

Johns highlighted the Titans’ need for a player of Schuster’s playmaking abilities, particularly his knack for setting up tries. The prospect of reuniting with former mentor Des Hasler and teammate Kieran Foran at the Titans presents an intriguing opportunity for Schuster, albeit contingent on financial negotiations aligning with club valuations.

Nonetheless, Fittler emphasized Schuster’s rare talents, particularly his playmaking prowess, which he believes will garner interest from potential suitors despite inconsistencies in other aspects of his game. While Schuster’s departure from Manly underscores ongoing concerns regarding his fitness and form, Fittler remains confident that the 22-year-old will receive another opportunity to prove himself at the NRL level.

Schuster’s NRL journey has been marked by positional shifts and fitness challenges, with his role at Manly evolving from backrower to five-eighth before being supplanted by new recruit Luke Brooks this season. Despite showcasing promise in previous seasons, Schuster’s recent stint with Blacktown Workers in the NSW Cup reflects a temporary setback in his NRL career trajectory.

As Schuster navigates the complexities of potential club transitions, the ramifications of Manly’s decision underscore the intricate dynamics of player contracts and market valuations within the NRL landscape.

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