NEW South Rovers coach Brendan Whelan will place an emphasis on youth, skill and fitness.
The first-time senior coach has signed a two-year deal with the Warrnambool and District league club, replacing long-term mentor Brett Evans.
Whelan, 39, joins the Lions after two seasons as an assistant coach at Hampden league club South Warrnambool.
He led the Roosters to the 2011 reserves premiership.
Whelan said South Rovers had a bright future and he was excited about the challenge of a senior coaching role.
“I am just looking forward to working with a new group, developing the young guys coming off an under 17s premiership and maybe bringing some new blood to the club and working with the existing guys,” he said.
“We’re looking to blood as many of the junior guys as we can and who knows, we’ll see what talent arises and see what happens from there.
“We’re really keen to keep them on board and push them as much as we can.”
Outgoing South Rovers president Sam Hyland said Whelan was the perfect fit the Walter Oval-based club.
Hyland said Whelan’s appointment was “the start of a new era for the club”. “He is a past player of the club and he’s really passionate about getting us back up the ladder with a focus on the juniors and building from within as well as with some recruits,” he said.
Evans coached South Rovers for seven seasons and steered it to the 2007 Warrnambool and District league premiership.
He also joined the Lions after coaching South Warrnambool’s reserves.
“He definitely left big shoes to fill. He’s done a good job up here,” Whelan said.
Whelan, a former Lions player, said South Rovers would start pre-season training on November 14 with twice- weekly sessions.
He said he would implement a running game plan, which would get the best out of the club’s younger players.
“We’ll just try to get fluent footy, keep the ball moving,” he said.
“We don’t want many stoppages.
“Team-oriented footy is what I will be pushing for.”
The non-playing coach said a passion for the game and the desire to remain involved encouraged him to become a coach.
He said he had developed his skill-set at the Roosters.
“Having a base at South Warrnambool I really got an interest in coaching and I was interested in taking the next step,” he said.
“I really enjoy footy and not being able to play I still wanted to be involved.”
South Rovers will hold a “meet the coach” night on November 9.