Manly magician Josh Schuster has distanced himself from a permanent move to the halves, claiming he’s content to hone his craft in the back row as he stands just 80 minutes away from a maiden grand final.
The 20-year-old star was quick to hose down speculation he had his eye on a switch to five-eighth, insisting he was comfortable playing on the edge before a preliminary final showdown with South Sydney on Friday night.
A rejuvenated Kieran Foran has signed a one-year contract extension at the Sea Eagles, meaning Schuster will at least spend another 12 months in the back row, a position he said he was more than comfortable with.
Schuster has formed a lethal left edge combination with Foran and Dally M favourite Tom Trbojevic, who has benefited from the ball-playing expertise of the two.
Asked whether he would be happy in the back row long term, Schuster said: “Definitely. I’ve played both positions and if this is the position my coach wants me in, I’m very happy with it.
“I played back row in my juniors so it’s not really new to me. I’m learning off the senior players in my team and progressing really well with it. I was lucky enough I got the opportunity, I’m loving every second and am very grateful to be in the position I am today.”
The Sea Eagles will play in their first preliminary final in eight years at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night against a rested Rabbitohs, who are trying to qualify for their first decider since their drought-breaking title triumph in 2014.
South Sydney are poised to start narrow favourites for the clash, which will give Manly the chance to beat a fellow top-four side for the first time this season.