Luke Metcalf’s long wait is almost over after being named to make his comeback from injury in the One New Zealand Warriors’ 11th-round New South Wales Cup match against Canterbury Bankstown at Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney on Saturday (12.00pm kick-off local time; 2.00pm NZT).
It will bring to a close an 18-month wait for the 24-year-old playmaker to have his first official match for the club.
Metcalf was 22 when he signed in November 2021 but his start to his first campaign with the One New Zealand Warriors has been stymied by a hamstring injury he picked up in training in February.
It came just days after he had turned on a dazzling performance in the club’s 48-12 win over the Wests Tigers in their Preseason Challenge match at Mount Smart Stadium on February 9.
Metcalf has made seven first-grade appearances for Cronulla Sutherland, six in 2021 and just one last season while he has also played almost 30 matches in the New South Wales Cup for the Sharks’ feeder club Newtown and the Blacktown Workers' Sea Eagles when he was with Manly.
Match: Bulldogs v Warriors
Round 11 -
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Joash PapaliiFullback for Warriors is number 1 Taine Tuaupiki
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jeral SkeltonWinger for Warriors is number 2 Moala Graham-Taufa
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Declan CaseyCentre for Warriors is number 3 Viliami Vailea
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Reece HoffmanCentre for Warriors is number 4 Ali Leiataua
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Eli ClarkWinger for Warriors is number 5 Setu Tu
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Khaled RajabFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Ben Farr
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Bailey HaywardHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Luke Metcalf
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Samuel HughesProp for Warriors is number 8 Zyon Maiu'u
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Kyle FlanaganHooker for Warriors is number 20 Maia Sands
Prop for Bulldogs is number 21 Ryan SuttonProp for Warriors is number 10 James Gavet
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Jackson Topine2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Kalani Going
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Kitione Kautoga2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Nicholas Halalilo
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Kurtis MorrinLock for Warriors is number 18 Demitric Sifakula
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 10 Jayden TannerInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Eiden Ackland
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Fa'amanu BrownInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Isaiah Vagana
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Chris PatoloInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Tanner Stowers-Smith
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 24 Franklin PeleInterchange for Warriors is number 22 Tahi Baggaley
Replacement for Bulldogs is number 19 Harry HayesReplacement for Warriors is number 21 Sanele Aukusitino
With Ronald Volkman moved up to the NRL side for tomorrow night’s clash against the Bulldogs, Metcalf will partner Ben Farr in the halves in the NSW Cup on Saturday.
Four players named in the One New Zealand Warriors’ extended NRL squad have also been selected in the NSW cup side – fullback Taine Tuaupiki, centres Viliami Vailea and Ali Leiataua and second rower Kalani Going.
The Slade Griffin-coached Warriors yielded top spot in the competition to North Sydney last weekend when they fell to a 12-30 loss to the Bears, their third defeat of the season and their heaviest so far.
It’s another demanding assignment this week up against the second-placed Bulldogs lying just a point ahead on the table.