Manly put faith in Cust with new NRL deal

Manly hope to have Dylan Walker back against Penrith but Cade Cust has shown he can deputise in the five-eighth jersey, earning a new contract at the NRL club.

DYLAN WALKER of Manly.
DYLAN WALKER of Manly. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Dylan Walker could return to face Penrith but Manly are ready to put their faith in Cade Cust again if needed after extending the youngster's stay at the NRL club.

Manly will hold off a call on Walker until closer to Saturday night's clash with the top-of-the-table Panthers, although he has returned to training with the main group.

If Walker is unavailable though, they will have no qualms in keeping Cust alongside Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves.

The 21-year-old Cust has starred in the position in the past fortnight since winning the starting spot at No.6, and was Manly's best in their win over North Queensland.

Off the field he's been rewarded too.

The playmaker confirmed on Wednesday he'd re-signed, with only the formalities to be complete before a two-year deal is announced.

The extension is a significant show of loyalty from Cust, who has proven he is ready to play first grade regularly.

"He is someone who wouldn't look out of place in a lot of halves combinations at other clubs," Cherry-Evans said.

"As you can tell, Cade is pretty fearless... He just wants to get out there and play footy and compete.

"Obviously Dylan when he is available is our first-choice No.6.

"But as a club it's really good to have someone like Cade ready to go."

Cust will face one of his biggest challenge this weekend as Manly try to knock a second club off the top of the NRL ladder in three weeks.

The Scone junior was initially overlooked in Manly's top 17 this year and only came onto the bench when Walker was injured before claiming the starting spot.

However, Cust said he did not consider looking for a contract elsewhere.

"I came through playing juniors at Manly," he said.

"I love the club, they gave me my debut so it was always my intention to stay.

"Playing No.6 is my preferred position.

"I'm keeping it quite simple, just focusing on my strengths and trying to do them well.

"When I get the opportunity just take it with both hands."

Meanwhile, Manly second-rower Joel Thompson is battling to overcome an ankle injury after missing training earlier in the week.

"I think he'll be pushing to play," Cherry-Evans said.