SOUTH Bendigo coach Jeff Brennan has started to rebuild the Bloods forward line by signing Deniliquin Rams centre half-forward Josh Whelan.
The Bloods have lost four key position players in the off-season - Justin Maddern, Leigh Burke, Michael Leech and Glen Scholtes.
Brennan is confident Whelan can be the focus of a new-look forward line in 2014.
"He's about 190cm has good speed and has great hands,'' Brennan said.
"What I like is his versatility and work rate. He works really well up the ground and does a lot of work.
"He didn't kick a lot of goals at Deniliquin because he played up the ground.
"With the way we're going to set up we'll be able to use him closer to goal at times.
"We're very happy to get him on board."
Whelan, 22, played inter-league football with the Murray Football League and was vice-captain of Deniliquin.
"Being named vice-captain of the Rams at such a young age shows he has great leadership,'' Brennan said.
"At 22 he still has his best football in front of him, which is very exciting for us."
Whelan's signing comes on the back of the Bloods adding Bendigo Gold ruckman Jeremy Lambden and Newbridge trio Ben Jones, Luke Sweeney and Jarrod Postle to their list.
Jones will partner Whelan in the Bloods' new-look forward line.
"Obviously, the club has lost some good players, but we're very happy with our recruiting so far,'' Brennan said.
"We've still got a couple more to come, so we think we'll be in a good position for next year."
South Bendigo starts the 2014 BFNL season with a clash against arch-rival Sandhurst at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Saturday, April 5.