Leagues: NAB League Boys
SNAPSHOT: “A hard running wingman/forward who racks up possessions on the outside and can hit the scoreboard.”
One of the hardest runners in this year’s AFL Draft crop is Jaxon Binns. The Dandenong Stingrays prospect has made a name for himself as a prolific outside midfielder, with the capacity to translate his best traits as a high half-forward.
Having cracked the NAB League for a single game last year, Binns was a key contributor in eight outings as a top-ager in 2022. He also built on his Under 17 representative experience as a core member of the Vic Country Under 18 squad, including in a standout 39-disposal performance against the Allies.
Like many Victorian prospects, the 17-year-old spent a large portion of his season adhering to school football commitments, turning out for APS Football premier Caulfield Grammar. His consistency of production across each level this year has been impressive.
+ Outside game
+ Scoreboard impact
+ Work rate
- Contested work
The standout trait Binns offers is his outside running. Leaning on a strong endurance base and ravenous work rate, he suits the wing role to a tee with his ability to cover plenty of ground going both ways. That side of his game suits modern day football, especially if he can stamp himself as a specialist wingman in the mould of Ed Langdon - who he draws inspiration from.
But Binns has another point of difference. He is just as adept starting forward of the ball, where he works his opponent over up the field before burning them on the way back. In a relatively small NAB League sample size, he booted a goal per game including three against the Brisbane Lions Academy in Round 2.
Adding to that sense of versatility is the fact he also played deep forward, and got his chance in midfield towards the back-end of the year with Dandenong. His production level was high and consistent, hovering between 18 and 27 disposals while driving the ball forward with nearly six inside 50s per his eight appearances. He can certainly accumulate.
On the flip-side, Binns could improve his versatility in the sense of evening out his outside-leaning tendencies. The man himself said he was looking to improve his inside/contested game, and though he works hard in a running sense, that hasn't always translated to defensive application - as an average of 1.8 tackles would attest to.
Binns is built as that endurance athlete who can get loose, escape over the back, and carry the ball forward, rather than being one who wins it at the source. Perhaps the more glaring area for improvement, though, is his end product. Binns favours his feet but often kicks to grass or the vicinity of teammates, rather than pinpointing passes.
Given many of his skills are executed on the outside, he could certainly add a touch more polish, even if he is forced to deliver while running at full tilt. The same goes with his work in front of goal, given his 8.17 scoring haul this season.
DRAFT RANGE: 30-50
With specialist wingmen in vogue and elite endurance runners proving highly desirable, there certainly seems to be a spot for Binns at the next level. More than just an athlete, he has the football nous to rack up plenty of possessions and drive into dangerous areas, doubling as a capable half-forward whose best traits suit the way football is played currently. With some polish to add, he may fit into the crop outside the top 30.