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Sea Eagles coach urges Schuster to follow Fifita lead

Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS

Manly coach Anthony Seibold insists he hasn't lost faith in Josh Schuster, despite axing the talented playmaker for Sunday's clash with Canterbury.

First dumped from five-eighth to the interchange and now dropped altogether, the talented 22-year-old is struggling after recently signing a long-term extension with the Sea Eagles through to 2027.

Instead of being allowed to try and find form in first grade in the dead rubber, Schuster will play in the NSW Cup while his NRL teammates try to snap a three-game losing streak when they meet the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium.

Seibold likened Schuster's plight to that of barnstorming Gold Coast second-rower David Fifita, who turned around some middling form in recent seasons to return to the State of Origin fold this year.

"Every player goes through some challenges in their career, success is never in a straight line," he said.

"We've invested heavily in Josh over the next three or four seasons ... when the late great Bob Fulton identifies someone with a lot of potential, a lot of talent, you take note of that.

"We've got a group of players who are working hard, I see him as an edge back-rower at this point in time and he hasn't been selected.

"There's a lot of players who are in a similar position to him, David Fifita, it hasn't always been easy for him, young Sam Walker at the moment ... a lot of these really talented young players now have to go through a little bit of a challenge, a little bit of a hurdle."

The Canterbury clash will see the Eagles try a fourth fullback for the season, with Tolutau Koula shifting there in the absence of Reuben Garrick who could be done for the year with a back complaint.

"He's really impressed a lot of guys in that position and through necessity he moved to the centres," Seibold said.

"It's a good opportunity for him, he hasn't done many reps at fullback recently but he certainly got a lot of reps over the pre-season and in previous years, we feel as though he's the best option for us."