Mature-age forward Alec Waterman is firming for an AFL debut in round one after signing with Essendon under supplemental selection period rules.
The 24-year-old secured his one-year contract on Tuesday, less than a week after kicking four goals on trial in the Bombers' practice match against Carlton.
Last season, Waterman kicked 26 goals from 10 games with Claremont and won the WAFL club's best-and-fairest award.
However, he was overlooked at the AFL draft.
Waterman, who offers a strong body and mid-sized marking option, could line up in a revamped Essendon forward line against Hawthorn in round one, with former Gold Coast tall Peter Wright and inexperienced Harry Jones also in the mix.
Versatile veteran Cale Hooker could also be used in attack as the Bombers - now without departed stars Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia - re-model their forward line under first-year senior coach Ben Rutten.
"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," Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro said.
"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.
"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."
Waterman was initially a father-son selection by West Coast at the 2014 draft but battled glandular fever during his two years with the Eagles and was delisted at the end of 2016 without playing an AFL game.
Waterman is the son of former West Coast premiership star Chris Waterman and brother of Eagles forward Jake Waterman.
"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."
Meanwhile, Melbourne are considering offering Werribee defender Kye Declase a contract under the SSP rules.
Declase played under former Tigers VFL coach Mark Williams, who is now in a development role with the Demons.
Australian Associated Press