Locals shine on big stage

Jaxon Binns storms away with one of his 39 disposals. 288528 Picture: AFL MEDIA

By Tyler Lewis

Berwick Junior Football Club and Dandenong Stingrays product Jaxon Binns has delivered a break-out performance at the Under-18 National Championships.

In the 33-point win over the Allies at the Gabba, Binns gathered 39 disposals and 14 inside-50s for Vic Country on Sunday.

Binns was playing a half-forward role for Vic Country in the previous game against South Australia but was then moved up to a wing to utilise his running capacity.

That running capacity is what impressed Binns’ Stingrays and Vic Country midfield line coach Nick Cox.

“I think the thing with Jacko is we identified in that half-forward role last week, he was getting a bit too high against South Australia,” he said.

“He was getting into the back 50 and not getting back in time, so by putting him out on the wing, he could use his running ability both ways.

“He blows up opponents with the way he can get up and down the ground, there is no doubt about it.

“He is still running at the same speed and pace at the end of the game, that he does at the start.

“I think Jacko would be the first one to say it, but his kicking efficiency wasn’t great yesterday, his decisions were okay, but his execution wasn’t great.

“But anyone that can get 40 touches in a Nationals game, it gets talked about a bit.”

Binns wasn’t alone in producing a tremendous performance, his Rays teammates Henry Hustwaite and Mitch Szybkowski also had massive outings, both accumulating 29 disposals.

Cox revealed he does inform his players of the importance of performing during the Championships, but also admitted they do coach themselves at times.

“They are important, I think the importance is them realising that they sit comfortably in that area,” he said.

“Henry Hustwaite in the last couple weeks has made massive strides and Szyba (Mitch Syzbkowski) keeps being Szyba.

“You don’t have to coach these players at times, just a few things at certain times to help them get better, but you let them go out and play and they do what they do.”

Vic Country’s next game is against Western Australia on 17 July at GMHBA Stadium.