YARRAWONGA has landed the recruit of the off-season by signing delisted Carlton midfielder Mark Whiley.
Originally from Finley, the 23-year-old shapes as a huge inclusion for the Pigeons as they attempt to bridge the gap between themselves and Albury and Lavington.
Whiley played nine senior matches for Carlton over the past two seasons and 12 in three years with Greater Western Sydney.
Yarrawonga co-coach Damian Sexton said the 189-centimetre was exactly the type of player the club needed.
“He got as far as he did in AFL because of his strong work ethic,” Sexton said.
“Besides being able to play the game, he’s going to be a fantastic leader and it’s great for the Yarrawonga footy club.
“He’s a ripping bloke and it’s going to give the older and younger blokes a real lift.”
Whiley, who is a nephew of former Yarrawonga best and fairest winner and captain Don Campbell, will live in the region and is set to start pre-season training at J.C. Lowe Oval in the next fortnight.
After playing juniors with Finley and Murray Bushrangers, he was recruited before the 2010 draft as one of Greater Western Sydney’s NSW zone selections.
Whiley made his debut for Carlton against Collingwood in Mick Malthouse's record breaking game of most matches coached in 2015.
Yarrawonga look well placed to climb up the ladder after recruiting as well as anyone in the Ovens and Murray.
The Pigeons have also picked up Mulwala best and fairest winner Jake Wild, Finley’s Jordan Daniel and Collingwood VFL player Lachie Howe.
Connor Hargreaves has returned to the club following a stint with Katamatite.
“I think we definitely go deeper in the midfield,” co-coach Chris Kennedy said.
“Mark’s straight out of the AFL and we think he’ll help bring along some of the younger blokes like Matt Gorman and Bronson Schofield who grabbed their opportunities last year when we had players out injured.”
Howe will play for Yarrawonga when free of commitments with Collingwood and that could be often with the Magpies picking up two big-men in the recent rookie draft.
Wild was used in the ruck by Mulwala last year.
“He has a strong body and you could play him anywhere,” he said.