DOB: 13 November 1979
From: Darwin/Woodville-West Torrens, Selection 50, 1999 National Draft
Number: 45 (2000-2009)
Statistical categories led:
Most games in jumper 45
A junior rugby league player who didn't switch to AFL until he was 15, Whelan played three seasons in the NT Teal Cup side but was overlooked in both the 1997 and 1998 drafts before moving to the SANFL. A courageous player on the field, Whelan jokingly credited this trait to the time when as a child he had been walking across what he thought was a log, but which turned out to be a crocodile.
He played 19 games for Woodville-West Torrens in 1999 but remained under the radar until finishing second in the Best and Fairest of the Darwin competition despite only playing nine games. North Melbourne then began showing interest but Melbourne got in first to draft him three picks before the Kangaroos.
Having surprised everybody, including himself, with the way he stepped in senior football Whelan suffered a neck injury in Round 19 of his debut season and missed the finals series. In the 2001 pre-season he hurt both his quad and achilles and had a delayed start to the year, not appearing until round 6 and eventually only playing nine games for the year.
Back in action for 2002 he missed a second finals series with injury, and it would not be until the 2004 Elimination Final loss to Essendon - his fifth season - that Whelan would finally play finals football.
Whelan battled injury in 2005, suffering hamstring, hand and calf problems throughout the year. In Round 10 he was on the other end of an injury when he infamously laid the tackle on Richmond's Nathan Brown which horrifically broke Brown's leg.
|Round 16, 2000||Wrestling||$1200 fine|
|Round 16, 2003||Unduly Rough Play||Not Guilty|
|Round 18, 2005||Rough Conduct||1 match|
|Round 16, 2006||Melee||$1500 fine|
|Round 5, 2007||Striking||1 match|