An outstanding centreman from Darley near Bacchus Marsh who was a towering mark for his height and a driving kick.
A sizeable chunk of his career was cut out by war service.
Whelan was a perfect footballer with tremendous polish whether playing in the centre or as a defender. He possessed that indefinable attribute of always having plenty of time in everything he did, but his game thrived on confidence.
As a youngster he went back home to the country after three games. Fortunately, Collingwood talked him into coming back and he slotted into the position vacated by Jack Beveridge.
It set him on the road to the top and he won the Brownlow Medal and Copeland Trophy in 1939.
When Jack Regan was temporarily sidelined, Whelan offered to stand in as full-back despite his lack of inches. Not surprisingly he did the job perfectly.
Even a three year break through war service did not dim his brilliance and he was still a good contributor at the age of 32.
Whelan played for Victoria three times and his son, Shane, played for the Magpies between 1967 and 1969.