New Essendon midfielder Jye Caldwell says he can’t wait to play as an inside midfielder, a role which has been earmarked by new senior coach Ben Rutten.
Caldwell returns home to Victoria after the club secured the 20-year-old and picks Nos. 44 and 74 from GWS, trading pick No.29 and a future second-round selection.
The No.11 pick from the 2018 NAB AFL Draft requested to join the Bombers via the trade period after playing the same number of matches for the Giants in two seasons.
In 2020, Caldwell ranked third for total tackles (33), seventh in total stoppage clearances (10) and eighth in total inside 50s (20) among eligible Rising Star players, showcasing the potential the Bendigo product has.
When reflecting on why he turned down interest from multiple Victorian clubs to sign with the Bombers, Caldwell said the decision came down to aligning with Rutten's vision.
“I chose the Bombers because they have a really good group coming through and I spoke to ‘Truck’ (Rutten) a few times and I really liked the way he goes about it,” Caldwell said.
“They’ve (Rutten and general manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro) said to me that I’ll be playing that inside-mid role that I’ve been wanting to play for the last couple of years.
“They’ve also said I could be playing different positions as well just to be more versatile, but they’re honing in on that inside-mid role for me.”
Deadline day of the trade period proved to be a nervous one for Caldwell, with the lodgement of his deal coming down to the final frantic minutes.
The relief of the trade occurring was immense for Caldwell, who says he already feels welcome at the club and is happy to not have been the catalyst for a swapping of high first-round draft picks.
“I’m glad the deal finally got done and both parties agreed to it,” he said.
“I got messages from the majority of the coaches, Dylan Shiel has already messaged me and they’ve all (the playing group) welcomed me.
“I’m glad (my deal) wasn’t done for one of our high picks, I’m glad Essendon held on to them and that they’ve got three draft picks in the top 10.
“It’s good to join a club who’s got that and they’ll bring in some good players hopefully.”
The 2020 NAB AFL Draft is set to revert to a one-night event on December 9, with details yet to be confirmed.