Rugby league legend Andrew Johns pays ultimate compliment to former Scone Thoroughbreds junior Cade Cust

NRL legend Andrew Johns has paid Cade Cust the ultimate compliment, labelling the former Scone Thoroughbreds junior an "out-and-out first grader".

Although the Manly Sea Eagles suffered a shock 40-22 defeat to the Cronulla Sharks at Central Coast Stadium at the weekend, the eighth Immortal was impressed by the 21-year-old Upper Hunter product, who made a mark from the interchange bench in the dying stages.

With his side trailing 34-6 late in the second half, Cust provided some much-needed impetus in Manly's floundering attack.

In fact, the Sea Eagles posted 16 points in the final 20 minutes - a statistic not lost on Johns.

"Cade's a really strong player," he said.

"He certainly added a lot of spark when he came onto the field.

"I'm surprised we haven't seen more of him in 2020.

"He played seven matches last year, scoring four tries.

"But, with all the injuries at the Sea Eagles at the moment, I'm sure he'll get more game time in the coming weeks."

After playing a major role in Manly winning the final Holden Cup premiership in 2017, Cust made his NRL debut in round 10 in 2019 - ironically against last Sunday's opponent, the Sharks.