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2019 SG Ball Grand Final - Illawarra Steelers v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Photo: Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles five-eighth and captain Josh Schuster was the man steering the ship in a successful SG Ball Cup season on the way to his side’s Grand Final appearance against the Illawarra Steelers.

Joining an electric backline that included Future Blues Ben Trbojevic and Kaeo Weekes, Schuster played a key role in controlling the Sea Eagles’ attack from midfield while producing many brilliant moments of his own.

Despite narrowly missing out on the SG Ball silverware after having a one-point lead in the final minutes via the boot of halfback Jamie Lawler, Schuster scored the Sea Eagles’ opening try and kicked two conversions in a strong individual display.

An ultra-consistent season for the Sea Eagles’ pivot was justly rewarded with SG Ball Player of the Year honours and selection in Michael Ennis’ NSW Under-18s team alongside five of his teammates - playing 42 minutes in the back-row.

This year also marked the second occasion that Schuster has represented New South Wales, having last pulled on the sky-blue jersey in 2017 for the Under-16s side who ran out 22-16 victors over their state rivals.

Arguably the next big thing on Manly-Warringah’s playmaker radar, Schuster continues prove his capabilities in game management and as a damaging ball-runner - the kind of versatility often required at the top level.

Now at 18 years of age and with a potential NRL debut on the horizon, a chance to partner first-grade captain Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves is very much achievable for the Sea Eagles’ Junior Representative Player of the Year.