SCONE junior Cade Cust's breakout season in the NRL has been rewarded with a contract upgrade.
While the Manly Sea Eagles will miss the play-offs in 2020, the talented Upper Hunter playmaker's impressed all and sundry with his whole-hearted efforts at the Sydney-based organisation.
Even rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns paid the 21-year-old a compliment, labelling the former Thoroughbred an "out-and-out first grader" in June.
"Cade's a really strong player," he said.
"He certainly adds a lot of spark when he comes onto the field.
"I'm surprised we haven't seen more of him in 2020."
The No. 6, who's partnered Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves due to Dylan Walker's unavailability, recently inked a new two-year deal with the Sea Eagles.
The extension is a significant show of loyalty from Cust, who has proven he is ready to play NRL 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, who unfortunately suffered a high ankle sprain at the weekend against the Canterbury Bulldogs, was initially overlooked in Manly's top 17 this year and only secured a bench berth following Walker's injury.
He then claimed the starting spot.
Cust admitted 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."
- with AAP