Manly Sea Eagles back-rower Josh Schuster has this week opened up on the Pride Jersey situation that played a role in the team's collapse this year, while also expressing his surprise at Des Hasler's dismissal in the increasingly-ugly aftermath.
Schuster was one of the seven Manly stars who boycotted the rainbow-striped jersey ahead of the Round 20 clash with the Roosters, claiming a lack of consultation and a conflict with their faith were the primary reasons behind the decision not to play.
Though Manly were already in a precarious position on the ladder, that situation proved the catalyst for a late-season collapse that ruined their finals prospects and ultimately cost Hasler his job.
Despite the relative quiet of the players in question since that time, Schuster has finally opened up about the troubled period to 9News.
“It was a difficult period, but I put my faith and my personal beliefs first,” Schuster said, doubling down when asked if he had any regrets.
"Like I said before, my personal beliefs and faith come first."
At the time of the decision Schuster had played just nine games in 2022, only starting three of them. He went on to play just 13 games for the season.
The 21-year-old claimed that despite the ugly situation that evolved, he was still surprised to see coach Hasler get the sack.
“It actually shocked me a bit,” Schuster said.
“He still talks to me here and there just to make sure I'm still training… but the main focus is he wants me to get ready for pre-season.
“I think throughout his whole coaching (career) his main (focus) was player welfare; he cares about the person.”