The Warriors have confirmed the signing of Luke Metcalf from the Cronulla Sharks, which completes a solid NRL transfer window for the Auckland club.
They had three principal targets heading into November and have secured two of them, with Eels backrower Marata Niukore and now Metcalf, while missing out on Roosters' centre Joseph Manu, who was their prime objective.
The club had been pursuing Metcalf for some time and were confident of gaining his signature, with the 22-year-old convinced of the greater pathways on offer at the Warriors, compared with the log jam of playmakers at Cronulla.
But the deal, a two year contract from 2023 onwards, took some time to formalise, as the Sharks made a last ditch attempt to convince Metcalf to stay.
But they were ultimately unsuccessful and Metcalf will be added to the Warriors roster from next year.
It's a signing based more on potential than performance, as the New South Wales age group representative has only made six NRL appearances, all towards the end of last season, with a total of 167 minutes of game time.
But the Warriors are convinced he is one for the future.
"Luke was really impressive when he came into the NRL late in the season," said Warriors head coach Nathan Brown. "He had to wait for his chance after seeing next to no football in 2020 because of Covid but he showed just why he has been so highly regarded coming through the grades with both the Sharks and Manly."
Metcalf, who was on a development contract with the Sharks, made his NRL debut against Manly in round 20.
His standout performance came three weeks later, with two tries, a line break and a try assist in the 50-20 win over Wests Tigers in Rockhampton.
"With Luke we've been able to sign another terrific young talent," said Warriors chief executive Cameron George. "He has been on our radar for some time and will add huge value to our club from 2023."
After coming through the age grades with the Sharks, Metcalf was with Manly Warringah in 2018, 2019 and 2020 before returning to Cronulla this year.
He was highly touted when he arrived a Brookvale as a teenager, but circumstances conspired against him.
An ACL knee injury ruined his 2019 season before he returned to represent Manly at the NRL Nines in Perth ahead of the 2020 campaign. But Covid scuttled his first grade hopes that season, as he was outside the top squad at the Sea Eagles and spent the campaign in a training-only role.
Metcalf's main asset is his blinding pace and acceleration and he stood out as a strike weapon in age group football.
Able to play at fullback as well as in the halves, he represented New South Wales at both under-16 and under-18 level.
Those state call ups came during an impressive junior career, where he scored 19 tries and kicked 61 goals in just 21 games for Cronulla's S G Ball Cup under-18 side in 2016 and 2017.
Born: March 1, 1999
Birthplace: Coffs Harbour, NSW
Position: Five eighth/halfback/fullback
Previous Clubs: Cronulla Sutherland (2015-2017), Manly Warringah (2018-2020) Cronulla Sutherland (2021-2022)
NRL debut: Cronulla Sutherland v Manly Warringah, August 2, 2021 (Rd 20)
NRL games: Six