CRICKETER Luke Lavender has joined Essendon as a category B rookie.
The 21-year-old, who has played premier cricket in South Australia, and excelled at soccer in his youth, can automatically join the Bombers having not been registered in a football competition for the past three years.
He is 202cm and has caught the eye with his speed, marking and good foot skills. The Bombers view him as an athletic ruckman who can also play forward.
"I'm really looking forward to getting into it during the pre-season and try to earn a spot in the side," Lavender said.
"I can't wait to see what the boys are like behind the scenes and be a part of that.
"I've always loved footy and grew up playing the game without ever really giving it a serious crack but now is the time for me to see how far I can really take it."
Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro said Lavender had first caught the club's attention playing for West Adelaide, and that he had strong potential.
"We've been keeping a close eye on him for some time now and we think he’s got the athletic prowess to be a very good AFL player," Dodoro said.
"He's a very determined young man with a great attitude.
"He'll come on to our list and be ready to go for the pre-season so he can start competing for a spot in the senior team."