CLAYTON coach Ben McGee believes he has landed one of the recruits of the Southern Football League season, although how many games he gets from former Dandenong Stingrays star Jake Calvert remains an unknown.
The Clays have signed Calvert for the coming season but will have use of his services only when he is not selected for Victorian Football League club Frankston Dolphins, where he has also signed.
Nonetheless, McGee said signing Calvert, a versatile and strongly built key position player, was a coup for his club, especially after losing reigning SFL division 1 best and fairest winner Aaron Purves to Port Melbourne.
Calvert was one of the players considered on the cusp of AFL draft selection last November before being passed over.
"He could be the best recruit in the league this year," McGee said.
"I think he will push into the Dolphins' VFL side and become a regular player.
"And when we can get him into our side he knows he will be a big part of our game plan."
McGee said he also hoped to form a partnership with the Dolphins in which younger Clays players get sent to the VFL club and players looking to come back to suburban football could come to the Clays.
Nineteen-year-old Narre Warren North resident Calvert said he decided to make Clayton his second club because of his connection with McGee, who coached him in Hallam Secondary College's football academy.
"Ben asked me if I wanted to go and get a coffee and we talked about footy and about Clayton," Calvert said. "Benny has always been there for me and done everything he could for me when he coached me in school footy and the Stingrays under-16 side so I was happy to head to Clayton."
After missing out on a list place or rookie list position in the AFL, Calvert wants to spend 2013 working on the areas of his game that didn't impress recruiters. He impressed in three matches for the Dolphins last year under the VFL "23rd man rule" in which a VFL club can play a TAC Cup player so the player can gain exposure to senior football.
Calvert said he was working hard in the Dolphins preseason program and wanted to stake his claim for a highly prized place in the Dolphins senior side, which has helped several players earn AFL places in the past few seasons.
"Hopefully I'm playing at Frankston but they will have a strong side this season, so if not I'll be happy to go back to Clayton and play there," Calvert said.
McGee said he would keep an open mind on how he uses Calvert and would seek out instructions from Dolphins coach Simon Goosey.
"Jake can play ruck, centre half-forward or centre half-back, so where I play him will be decided by which position Simon wants him working on."