Josh Schuster is set to get first crack alongside Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves next season as the Sea Eagles start planning for life without Kieran Foran.
Foran’s move to the Titans has opened the door for Schuster to step into the No.6 jersey which he has long coveted after being demoted to the bench for much of the 2022 campaign.
The exciting 21-year-old played just two games last season in the halves after bursting onto the scene as a ball-playing back-rower in 2021 who bamboozled defenders with his ability to shift the ball while looking the other way.
But then coach Des Hasler refused to play him at five-eighth, with Schuster’s fitness an issue.
The youngster chose not to represent Samoa at the recent World Cup and has reportedly shed a number of kilos in a bid to get his body right for the new season.
“I’ve had a lot to do with Josh over the last few weeks,” incoming coach Anthony Seibold said on his first day in the job.
“He’s started the pre-season well and he’s been consistent with his efforts over the first couple of weeks.
“But that’s the easy part of it. The challenge for every player in the NRL is to develop a love for that grind, particularly in the pre-season because it’s 12 weeks of hard work.
“We’ll look at Josh as a No.6 option.
“Kieran Foran has left the club so Josh will get an opportunity in that position, but there’ll be a couple of other guys as well who will get a chance to train in that position.
“But we think that Josh has the opportunity to get first crack at that.”
Schuster’s selection is one of the big questions Seibold has to answer in his new role as the Sea Eagles look to recover from their disastrous end to the season.
The return of superstar Tom Trbojevic will help their cause, while Seibold can also rely on the leadership of Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic.
There’ll also be questions over Seibold whose last role in the NRL didn’t end well at the Broncos less than two years into a monster deal.
He returns to the coaching fraternity after stints with the Knights and English rugby and says he’s grown since his bitter split with Brisbane.
“I was confident I’d get another opportunity to be a head coach, but it was more a case of what opportunity did I want to take?” he said.
“I knew I wanted to keep coaching, and I’ve shown that over the two years since I left Brisbane.”
Sea Eagles chief executive Tony Mestrov is confident Seibold is the right man for the job after the club parted ways with Hasler following a messy end to the season caused in part by the Pride jersey fiasco.
“We were after an experienced coach. Anthony, having coached at Souths and the Broncos, obviously meets that bill,” Mestrov said.
“Anthony is a very smart and astute coach, and we think that he’s the best coach for this playing group. It’s a very talented group and we think Anthony will bring the best out of the group.
“He’s the right coach from a cultural point of view and also an astute coach point of view. We think Anthony will connect really well with the bunch of players that we’ve got.
“We think that Anthony’s personality will get the best out of this group.”
Story Credit: news.com.au