Athletic Dandenong Stingrays midfielder Jai Culley tonight became the last player added to the West Coast Eagles’ 2022 list when he was the first selection in the AFL’s mid-season draft.

Culley, a 193cm midfielder or forward, was not selected in the National Draft last November but has worked diligently in expanding his skill set and worked his way to the top of the pack to earn this opportunity.

Last season he played largely as a forward but built his fitness base so he could go through the midfield and has been highly impressive in the first half of the season.

Recruiting and List Manager Rohan O’Brien said he was excited by the prospect of Culley joining the club’s senior squad.

“He has shown outstanding improvement in the first half of the year,” O’Brien said. “He has moved into the midfield, whereas last year he was more of a forward and that has really allowed him to showcase the full extent of his talent.

“Jai is a terrific size for a midfielder at around 193cm; a big strong boy who can go forward, take a mark and kick a goal. He had an outstanding game a few weeks ago in Victoria for the Young Guns where he had high possessions and kicked four goals.

“The fact that he can play midfield and go forward and have that versatility at his size is a real bonus.”

While the club had the option of taking a second selection it decided against using its additional pick, leaving the door ajar for a player on the club’s inactive list to play a role in the second half of the 2022 campaign.

Heading the list of players vying to recover from serious injury is premiership half-back Tom Cole, who is making good progress from a serious ankle injury.

Culley will arrive in Perth in the next couple of days and while he boasts the physical attributes to push for selection, O’Brien suggested he would need time to settle into his new environment.

“He probably has the body that allows him to, but with all of these boys we need to give them a little bit of time to pick up the tempo of playing senior footy,” he said. “If he does that, it will be a nice bonus, but we need to introduce him through the WAFL system and allow him to improve at his own rate.

“He has done a lot of work on his game both off-field, physically and mentally, which is a real credit to him. He does a lot of skill work on his own, has taken a lot of advice and taken it on board.

“He probably won’t play with our WAFL team this weekend. We would like to give him a full week’s training. He will come across, spend a little bit of time with the team, do a full week of training and assuming everything goes right he will play WAFL the week after.”