On a Development list contract to start the 2021 season, Luke Metcalf patiently waited for his chance.
With the NSWRL season cancelled, the opportunity for him to push his claims while playing for the Newtown Jets disappeared, with Metcalf left to train, prepare and to be ready to go should he receive the call up.
And that is exactly what occurred due to circumstances, form and injuries, and the 22-year-old Coffs Harbour native certainly didn't disappoint, with Metcalf coming off the bench in an impressive 14-minute cameo in a match against the Sea Eagles in round 20.
From there he would play six games in the top grade, highlighted by two tries in a 50-20 win over the Wests Tigers, leaving Metcalf as the standout choice as the Sharks Steve Rogers Rookie of the Year for 2021.
Shark #546, Metcalf came to the Sharks as a youngster, playing through Matthews Cup, SG Ball and the under 20's before making a switch to the Sea Eagles. Metcalf returned to the Sharks in 2021, with his contact set to upgrade to a top-30 deal in 2022.
Possessing exceptional speed, which became evident to the Sharks fans late this season, Metcalf was considered amongst the leading players in his age group when coming through the grades, the half back representing NSW at under-18's Origin level. In that particular match he scored three tries in a NSW win in delivering a man of the match performance.
Due to the Covid situation and the NRL group being in a Queensland bubble, the 2021 Sharks annual awards were presented at an informal gathering in their Brisbane Hotel.
The Metcalf award comes on top of Will Kennedy scooping the pool, the Sharks fullback taking out the Porter-Gallen Medal for Player of the Year, the Tommy Bishop Player’s Player and Members Player of the Year.