NRL 2024: Manly Sea Eagles, Josh Schuster release, performance clause, immediate release, news, salary, where could Josh Schuster land, NRL360

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Sea Eagles bosses have reportedly included a performance clause in Josh Schuster’s contract that has saved them from having to pay the $2.4 million remaining on his deal.

Manly powerbrokers gave the 22-year-old permission to leave the club immediately on Wednesday, making the brutal call to cut the talented forward loose.

Schuster failed to feature in any NRL games so far in the 2024 season, having played three games in NSW Cup in the backrow and at lock.

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Schuster is reportedly now a free agent according to The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis due to a clause that is linked to his weight.

The move comes only 10 months after he was handed a fresh contract worth a reported $800,000 per-season to remain in Brookvale until the end of 2027.

“He’s gone back there (to reserve grade) and he’s struggled, you look at some of the performances there, there’s a lack of effort and a lack of desire,” Carayannis said on NRL360 on Wednesday night.

“They’ve told him today he’s free to go if he can find a club, otherwise he can see out this year and he’s free to go at the end of next year.

“Keep in mind last year he re-signed for three years and he hasn’t even started that contract yet, he’s still in his old deal at the moment.

“He won’t see a day in that new contract which is remarkable…. they are confident there’s some parameters in play that they don’t have to pay out a cent of that contract.

“In Josh’s contract there’s a weight clause, before Christmas he had met all his targets, he adhered to them, he was looking really good and they thought the penny had dropped here.

“Post Christmas, he’s had sickness, a calf injury, a broken hand and now it’s a bit murky because of those injuries, does it mitigate where those clauses are at?”

Schuster’s pre-season was hampered by a bout of chickenpox and a finger injury, falling down the pecking order behind Ben Trbojevic and Haumole Olakau’atu.

Seibold’s decision to hand the divisive talent a new contract was heavily criticised at the time, and Schuster failed to re-pay the club’s faith.

Last season he was dropped at five-eighth, having been stood down on multiple occasions to work on his fitness and battling injuries.

The Sea Eagles then went about signing Tigers playmaker Luke Brooks, signalling a shift back to the edge forwards for Schuster.

Both NRL360 host Braith Anasta and Carayannis agreed the lucrative contract only hampered Schuster’s ability to perform, whilst also inflating the prices of his teammates.

“It just shows right, the concerns they had around him from the get go and to think that they signed him on that amount of money knowing this,” Braith Anasta added.

“No disrespect to the poor kid but we hear a lot about his performances, training, his attitude… it’s a bit of a lesson that getting the big dollar isn’t always what’s best.

“The expectation and the pressure that comes with it…. it can ruin them. He’s got the talent, to play first grade every week, but when you get that pressure.

“And all of a sudden everyone has their eyes on you.”

“It’s a bad deal for the kid, it puts the exposure, the impetus, he’s only 22. He wasn’t ready to handle it and it was a bad deal from the club,” Carayannis added.

“What else it does is it creates a whispering campaign among the teammates who say he’s on $800k, he’s not putting in.

“It’s raised the price of Haumole Olakau’atu, Paseka, who have seen what Schuster has got and they go ‘what’s my value?’.”

Now the big question that remains is where could Schuster land?

Anasta made a bold call regarding his next potential salary, while Carayannis floated one potential landing destinations.

“I don’t think he’s worth a cent over $300,000,” Anasta said.

“It’s early days and he’s not going to command anywhere near $800,000, I think sides will take a punt on him because he’s got the talent, he’s got all the skill,” Carayannis said.

“Maybe in a different environment he will thrive… it’s going to be a reality check for him, but the one you look at and think maybe they could make it work is the Titans.”

However, Fox League’s James Hooper and NRL360 co-host Paul Kent were of the belief Schuster needs to rebuild his career.

The duo explained that it would be in the back rower’s best interests to put his head down and take a pay cut to join an elite system.

“I would have thought more of a strong system like Craig Bellamy and the Melbourne Storm, where he goes down and rips in, the I don’t quit school, they get him cherry ripe,” Hooper said.

“If you’re managing Schuster and you don’t care about your six per cent over the next few years, you put him in a strong system,” Kent said.

“Really good players around him who have a high work ethic and you say to him ‘listen mate we have to take a hair cut now and play for less than what Manly are offering or this club are offering’.

“But what we’ve got to do is we’ve got three or four hard years here, get your footy right, and then hopefully by the time you’re at the end of it you’re back up in that price range.

“But you’re not justifying it, and because he’s still a young man he has another four or five years of earning that money.

“But if the fruit gets too tempting right now and they go to the best offer, he could be playing for Salford in about three years.”

Originally published as Shock $2.4m detail over Schuster axe revealed… and where he could land