Second AFL chance for former West Coast Eagle Alec Waterman, who signs a rookie contract with Essendon

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Alec Waterman is officially back in the AFL.

Nearly seven years after he was first drafted, the former West Coast Eagle has completed a remarkable road to recovery after signing a rookie contract with Essendon.

The 24-year-old fought back from the long-term illness which ruined his first stint in the AFL at the Eagles to earn a spot on the Bombers’ list.

The son of dual West Coast premiership player Chris Waterman put pen to paper this morning ahead of the March 9 Pre-Season Supplementary Period deadline.

“I’m over the moon to have signed with Essendon,” Waterman said.

“To come over here to Melbourne and win a contract with the Bombers is unbelievable, and I’m very thankful to the club for offering me a spot on the rookie list.

“I feel like I have a lot to prove now that I’ve got another crack at AFL footy.

“I’m just so excited to hopefully get a clean run at it and put my best foot forward as I know I’ve got a lot to offer as a player at senior level.”

The Claremont product firmed for a rookie gig after booting four majors in Essendon’s practice match loss to Carlton at Ikon Park last week, including three in the final term.

He caught the eyes of AFL recruiters after a career-best WAFL campaign for the Tigers last year, booting 26 goals in 10 matches to help his team to a grand final berth.

After playing most of his career as a big-bodied midfielder, Waterman thrived as a high half-forward, winning Claremont’s EB Cook Medal for fairest and best in the senior team.

He is likely to get one more chance to push his case for an opening-round debut against Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on March 20 as the Bombers round out their pre-season against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday as part of the AAMI Community Series.

List manager Adrian Dodoro said the club is thrilled to have secured the WA product.

“We’re rapt to have offered Alec a deal for 2021,” Dodoro said.

Alec Waterman in action for the Bombers last week.
Camera IconAlec Waterman in action for the Bombers last week. Credit: Essendon FC/Essendon FC

“We’ve been impressed by Alec since he arrived at the club in February, where he’s clearly demonstrated an ability to fit comfortably into an AFL environment and contribute to our side.

“He possesses a body which is ready for the rigours of AFL football, and he showed in the most recent practice match against the Blues that he has an innate ability for a mid-forward role, something which he played so well in during the WAFL last year when he booted 26 goals in 10 games for Claremont.

“It’s a fantastic story to see him get another chance at AFL level after illness hurt his first go at it with West Coast, so we’re looking forward to seeing Alec make his mark in 2021.”

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