WANGARATTA will boast one of the strongest midfields in the Ovens and Murray this season after landing Pakenham star Beau Wheeler.
Wheeler, 27, has joined the Pies after moving to the area recently and adds another dimension to an onball brigade that’s already boosted by the return of Morris medallist Jamie Allan and arrival of young gun Lee Dale.
“We probably don’t have the big names but we’re really happy with what we’ve got,” Wangaratta coach Mark Knobel said.
“You add Beau to Lee, Jamie, Daine (Porter) and Matt Kelly and you’ve got five blokes who can compete with most midfields.
“At 27, Beau will bring a bit of experience to our young list and he’s a good decision maker.”
Wheeler underwent shoulder surgery at the end of last season and is yet to resume training full-time.
The classy midfielder was named on a wing in the strong Casey Cardinia league’s Team of the Year last season and finished runner-up in Pakenham’s best and fairest.
“He moved up here in January and had been training with us,” Knobel said.
“His old club wanted him to travel back each week but he wanted to establish a new group of friends up here, which is great for us.”
Wangaratta has undergone plenty of changes since finishing sixth last season.
Ben Davies (Williamstown), James Wong (Deer Park) and Josh Porter (Werribee) have all left Norm Minns Oval, while Allan, Dale, Wheeler, Joel Harris (Heidelberg) and Xavier Norden (Aberfeldie) headline the arrivals.
In a massive boost, best-and-fairest winner Matt Grossman will also remain at the club after weighing up his future.