NRL 2024: Josh Schuster vows to make Keith Titmuss and family proud

Space-Separated Links URL URL URL URL Space-Separated Links URL URL URL URL Space-Separated Links url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url


A week after he gave evidence at an emotional inquest into Keith Titmuss’ death, Manly gun Josh Schuster has vowed to live out his best friend’s legacy as he prepares for the most important season of his young career.

Schuster and Titmuss had been close since their days together at school, with the pair dreaming of one day representing the Sea Eagles together.

Titmuss died in 2020 during a pre-season training session which has been the focus of an inquest at Lidcombe Coroners Court where Schuster spoke last week.

On Monday – on what would have been Titmuss’ 24th birthday – Schuster spoke openly about how he wants to honour his great mate on and off the field in 2024 as he looks to overcome a poor 2023 season having endured his own issues and fierce criticism.

“His family would love me to live out his legacy,” Schuster said.

“I’ve known his family since I was young when I went to school with him. Keithy would want me to live out his legacy. I just want to make him proud by playing footy.

“I’m not going to take footy or life for granted.”

The past week has been difficult for everyone involved, but Schuster said the inquest will provide answers that the family deserves.

“I think it was important for everyone, especially his mum and his dad and his sister and brother because they got answers,” he said.

“They just wanted answers – it’s probably why this inquest happened – but that’s coming to an end now which is probably good.”

Schuster’s vow to the Titmuss family could start as early as this weekend with the back-rower set to face the Roosters in Gosford if he gets through Wednesday’s training session unscathed.

Teammate Tom Trbojevic has already ruled himself out of their first official trial – they beat the Rabbitohs 68-6 on Sunday in a match that didn’t count towards the pre-season challenge – but Schuster is keen to impress his coaches after he watched Ben Trbojevic score a first-half hat-trick on the left edge.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for the young man who had chickenpox for the first time and then fractured his finger which he realised was bent out of shape at the end of a training session.

He then tweaked his right calf in early January which led to reports he hadn’t trained for two months and would miss the Las Vegas trip, but he says that simply wasn’t true.

“It’s annoying, but it comes with the game we play,” he replied when asked about the constant media speculation.

“I still could’ve trained because it was just a little calf strain, but they just said to play it safe because you don’t want to make it worse.

“They told me to take a few weeks to get my leg right, which was good because everything is back to normal now.”

Fitness and injuries have restricted him to just 28 NRL games over the past two seasons, with 2024 shaping as a make or break year for a player who has all the talent in the world but hasn’t been consistent enough at the highest level.

“This has been the best pre-season I’ve had in terms of weight and feeling good. This is the lightest I’ve been and I can’t wait to play footy,” he said.

“I’ve been around 110-112 kilos which is perfect for me in the back row. I don’t want to go past that mark.

“I’m just focused on me and being consistent every week.”