Rugby league: Nephew of former All Black Josh Schuster likely to turn down NZ Kiwis interest

Despite family links to New Zealand, Manly Sea Eagles playmaker Josh Schuster will likely turn down the NZ Kiwis jersey.

Schuster, 20, was named in coach Michael Maguire's 38-man extended squad for a 2022 campaign that includes the Rugby League World Cup.

Schuster, nephew of former All Blacks second-five John Schuster, rose to prominence with star-making performances during Manly's run to the Grand Final qualifier.

But a humbled Schuster says his heart lies with New South Wales and the Kangaroos.

"It came as a big shock to me," Schuster tells Sydney Morning Herald. "I think it is more to honour my grandfather and his brother who played for the All Blacks... to be named in the squad is pretty surreal.

"I'm not going to lie, one day I'd love to play Origin footy and for my country, Australia. It's good that my options are open."

Pressed on his preference, Schuster says: "I would definitely say NSW and Australia.

"I have wanted to play Origin ever since I was a kid, and I played 16s and 18s Origin. To be part of an Origin squad is very flattering.

"It's all gone so fast this year, I haven't had time to reflect on it. I'm loving it."

Schuster has already been coached by Blues boss Brad Fitler at age-group level, while former New South Wales Origin star Michael Ennis is his mentor. 

NSWRL chief executive David Trodden says Schuster has been a key part of their future pathways programme for the last five years and admits he’s surprised by his New Zealand call-up.

"He's played for a number of NSW under-age teams and is highly regarded by our high-performance staff," he says.

"He's definitely an Origin player of the future. We'd hate to see him lost to our system."

John Schuster in action for the All Blacks in 1988
John Schuster in action for the All Blacks in 1988 Photo credit: Photosport

Schuster's uncle John played 10 tests for the All Blacks from 1987-89 before switiching to rugby league where he played for the Newcastle Knights (47) and Halifax (50) in the Super League as well as two tests for Western Samoa.

He returned to rugby union on the late 1990s, and played for Manu Samoa at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.