It was always going to be a tough ask for youngster Joe Caletti to crack Brisbane Roar’s first team.
With captain Matt McKay, Danish international Thomas Kristensen and former Socceroo Brett Holman competing for spots in an ultra-talented midfield, chances in the Hyundai A-League would be few and far between.
But a combination of injuries and a heavy schedule has seen the Sydney-born midfielder earn debuts in the A-League and the Asian Champions League.
After biding his time in the Hyundai A-League club's squad, the youngster was handed his first-team debut just over six weeks ago in Roar’s ACL playoff win over Global FC.
The diminutive midfielder has since gone on to make three appearances in the A-League and four in the ACL, starting in the Roar’s loss to Kashima in Japan on Match Day 3.
In three A-League matches, Caletti’s pass accuracy is an impressive 89% while he has also won 100% of tackles he has contested.
His composure, work-rate and passing range have even drawn comparisons to a former Championship-winning midfielder at the Roar - Massimo Murdocca.
The 18-year-old is a product of the FFA Centre of Excellence with the holding midfielder captaining the Joeys at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile in 2015.
After joining the Roar in January 2016, Caletti became a key member of the club’s Foxtel National Youth league side during their 2016/17 campaign.
Caletti has looked comfortable from the outset in a Roar shirt and it’s his quiet confidence which has put him in the frame for NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.