Josh Schuster vows to fight back after Manly Sea Eagles blow

What is hard to understand is the “weight clauses” in his deal, which can trigger a breach of his contract. This has been denied by his management, but clearly the story is coming from somewhere.

Just a few weeks ago Manly were still saying they would persist with Schuster, doing whatever they could to get him fit and firing, but he has not looked capable of playing first grade this season. It is an unfortunate demise.

Despite clubs publicly distancing themselves from Schuster, his agent says there is interest.

“Currently, Josh is on leave for two weeks for personal reasons and it’s paramount that his welfare comes first,” manager Mario Tartak said.

“The amount of support shown from the NRL community has been overwhelming. Several clubs have shown interest, although we will assess and take our time in making any decision.”

Burge-oning career

Sam Burgess has been linked to a return to South Sydney, but they’re not the only club closely watching what he is doing in his first coaching job at Warrington.

Burgess’ Wolves have won five of their first seven games to start the Super League season as their coach starts to create a reputation that reflects his playing reputation as a leader of men.

Sam Burgess.Credit: Getty

Souths would be first choice if Burgess came back to the NRL, given his history at the club, where he was man of the match as the Rabbitohs ended their 43-year premiership drought in 2014, was captain and played 182 NRL games. But an overhaul of playing staff and administration maybe too much of an ask for him this early in his coaching career.

Burgess has an outstanding relationship with key figures throughout the game, including Roosters coach Trent Robinson. There’s been no official thought to signing Burgess at Bondi, as they have their own heroes, such as Boyd Cordner, Brett Morris and others on the coaching staff. There would be some at the Roosters, however, who would take great delight if one of Souths’ favourite sons was to join their staff. It has been mentioned in passing.

Burgess would be entitled to say “I told you so” as the Rabbitohs struggle, but his respect for the club and his relationship with co-owner Russell Crowe will prevent him from doing so.

Warrington already want to extend Burgess’ time with the club, but you get the feeling there would have to be significant exit clauses if he was to go down that path.

Shane and Wayne

Wests Tigers interim chief executive Shane Richardson still hasn’t done a deal to cement a long-term job with the club. Negotiations are significantly advanced, but from what we can gather, the finer details are proving to be an issue.

There is also talk that if Wayne Bennett was to return to the Rabbitohs as coach to replace Jason Demetriou, he would want Richardson involved. The pair have worked closely together previously at South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs already have Blake Solly as CEO and are not on the lookout for someone else in administration. Richardson has previously worked with those running the Rabbitohs and left the club on good terms. We asked Richardson if he has been approached about a potential return to the club, and he said he has had no dealings either with Bennett or the Rabbitohs.

Don’t mention war

South Sydney love and respect Lachlan Ilias and his family, and that has prevented them from firing back at persistent criticism of the club and its management from Ilias’ agent, Braith Anasta.

Ilias was made the scapegoat for Souths’ early season form and dropped to NSW Cup where he suffered a broken leg last weekend, making this season one to forget. Anasta has been using his media platform to launch into Souths, and those in power have noted his comments. The club says out of respect for Ilias, they won’t engage in a war of words.

Tat’s entertainment

Panthers star on the rise Taylan May already owns one of the more distinctive tattoos in the NRL, and now he’s trying to make a mark in a different way in the world of social media.

May has started his own video blog, and for Panthers fans it is certainly worth watching to get an insight into what he and some of his Penrith teammates get up to. It is well shot and insightful for those who are interested in the Panthers.

Penrith are aware of the vlog and have had a quiet word to May about the perils of social media. They are supportive of players being themselves and they encourage them to have other interests, but they want them to be aware of the pitfalls.

May is clearly taking this project seriously and the content has been entirely wholesome from what we’ve seen so far. Giving him a heads up on being cautious about content is smart by the Panthers as they know media types will be watching what he does closely as his standing in the game grows.

Self-interest drives rival clubs’ criticism of Latrell: V’landys

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has hit back at the “blind self-interest” of disgruntled clubs that have been privately critical of Souths stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker after the NRL took them to Moree to help troubled youth.

From left, Peter V’landys, Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Andrew Abdo on the flight to Moree earlier this month.

From left, Peter V’landys, Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Andrew Abdo on the flight to Moree earlier this month.

The NRL flew Mitchell and Walker in a private jet to launch an important initiative in Moree that was also attended by NSW Premier Chris Minns. This column wrote a glowing account of the contribution of Mitchell, Walker and the NRL last week, but it didn’t go down well with powerbrokers at some Sydney clubs.

I was criticised for the coverage, but the main anger was directed at the NRL. The prevailing view was that Mitchell should not have been in that position at all because of his recent behaviour on and off the field. That was a reference to his expletive-laden radio interview and his elbow to the head of Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson, which resulted in a three-game ban. In my defence, that suspension came well after Mitchell travelled to Moree.

The strongest line of criticism was that the NRL was “empowering” Mitchell. Ironically, that is probably what the Indigenous community of Moree needs – a strong and proud Aboriginal leader. That idea didn’t go down well with the clubs.

“Our aim and consideration was not to elevate Latrell and Cody to some level where they would earn the anger of clubs,” V’landys said. “Our objective was simple – for the game’s best Indigenous role models to inspire some kids who need a hero. If our game can help the community and give Indigenous kids hope, that’s a great thing, not a negative.

“I know why the critics aren’t putting their names to any criticism, as they’d come across as petty and devoid of decency. I’ll take the human kindness of Latrell and Cody over blind self-interest any day.”

If Mitchell can do some good in a community such as Moree, more power to him.

It has been a week of change for Latrell after his apology to teammates in a show of accountability for letting them down by getting suspended. He said all the right things at a meeting with the club and his management, and I have noticed a change in him already. Normally, he’s quite standoffish and reluctant to talk to the media outside his required duties. When I saw him in Maroubra midweek at South Sydney’s high-performance centre, he offered a far more friendly greeting than normal.


It feels like a penny has dropped for Mitchell, and while it’s easy to criticise him, as clubs have the right to do, perhaps we are about to see the beginning of the next phase of his life, when he reminds everyone what a brilliant footballer he can be.

None of this will go down well with Mitchell’s critics — and their view is probably in the majority right now — but he seems to have realised he doesn’t need to be something he’s not. As we see him being himself in the coming months and years, he may win back some of the support he lost.

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