John Toleafoa began 2019 on the bench for Lakes.
He ended up as starting prop for the Seagulls and was recently named Newcastle Rugby League rookie of the year.
Toleafoa, 20, gets one last chance to impress on Thursday when he lines up for a Rebels squad in an end-of-season representative clash.
He joins some of the best up and comers in the Newcastle competition, aged between 20 and 24 years, taking on NRL affiliated states at Maitland Sportsground.
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"I've always been a fan of his [Toleafoa]," Adam Hall, standing in as Rebels coach for unavailable Matt Lantry, said.
"He was part of our [Rebels] 19s/20s squad last year and made a huge impression there. He got himself really fit in the off-season and then played every game for Lakes this year.
"Given an opportunity and if he keeps improving I think he could make the step up to NSW Cup level. But he'll get plenty of minutes tomorrow night [Thursday], don't worry about that."
The 19-man Rebels side features four players from last month's first grade grand final - Cessnock trio Harry O'Brien, Nicholas Lawrence and Connor Kirkwood as well as Wests premiership winger Malu Fiu.
Wests utility Ross Haidle was called in for injured Cessnock forward Reed Hugo (shoulder).
Cameron Anderson (Central), Harry Van Dartel (Souths), Bobby Treacy (Macquarie), Tylar Carter (Maitland) and Reid Alchin (Kurri) help fly the flag for their respective clubs.
"I've expressed to all of the boys that you never know who might turn up to watch these kind of games," Hall said.
"They are in the shop window again and even for Newcastle selectors. A good performance here could put you front of mind for Rebels' seniors next year."
Hall added that the Rebels' opponents, made up of players from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory, would be "sight unseen".
In the Newcastle women's Blues Tag squad, hosting Central Coast earlier at the same venue, Lily Goodchild drops out with injury.
Action from 6pm. Main game kicks off at 7pm.