IN JUST his first season at the Blues, young gun Jaxon Binns has taken out the 2023 Carlton VFL Best and Fairest.
Selected with pick No.32 in the 2022 AFL Draft, Binns played 17 VFL games this season, with his athleticism and running ability on display throughout the year.
The 18-year-old played a prominent role on the wing, with his best game coming in Round 3 against North Melbourne with 31 disposals, four tackles and two goals.
In his first year playing at VFL level, Binns ranked No.2 in the competition for kicks per game and was honoured with an inclusion in the 2023 VFL Team of the Year: the only first-year draftee to be named in the representative side.
Nothing could split second place, with Paddy Dow and the retiring Lachlan Plowman sharing the well-deserved recognition after consistent 2023 seasons.
Dow's consistent ball-winning ability was on full display throughout the season, playing 10 VFL matches and averaging 31 disposals, with his ability to impact the game proving crucial to the Carlton Reserves in 2023.
Plowman's versatile ability to play on both tall and small oppositions was a key feature of his defensive game, as was his leadership amongst a young Blues side. He was acclaimed for his ability to have his own impact on the game while also making his teammates better on the field.
Coming in a close third, the VFL-listed Ned Cahill - one of the Blues’ regulars - had another strong season, bringing energy and excitement throughout the year.
The 22-year-old has further established himself within the team as a small forward, leading the team’s goalkicking alongside Ben Ronke. His best showing came in Round 5 against Sandringham where he amassed 21 disposals and four goals in a match-winning performance.
After an outstanding season in the Navy Blue, emerging talent Heath Ramshaw was awarded the Best Young Player award.
The versatile youngster found a home in the midfield, started on-ball and playing crucial, disciplined roles for his team. His talent was evident in Carlton’s Round 12 game against Essendon, collecting 33 disposals and a goal.
In just his first year at the club, Ben Ronke was the recipient of the Coaches’ Award, for his impact both on and off the field. Ronke led with maturity and the guidance he showed to the younger players in the squad was an invaluable asset.
Rounding out the honours were Luke Parks (Players Award) and Lachlan Swaney (Best Clubman). Parks was recognised by his peers for upholding himself in a manner that promotes each of the club and team values throughout the season, while Swaney - who's also a development coach for the AFLW side - was recognised for his commitment to living Carlton’s values both on and off the field.
VFL Senior Coach Luke Power said the Club was proud of the quality of the VFL program and the development across the squad as a whole.
“It is important to honour and acknowledge the incredible efforts of players' work both on and off the field,” said Power.
“Jaxon, Paddy, Lachie and Ned have all shown unwavering commitment to the VFL program across the year and are incredibly deserving of their best and fairest placing.
“For Jaxon to take out the Best and Fairest award in just his first season with the Blues is a real testament to his work ethic and character. He was able to adapt to everything thrown at him this season and a resilient player, mature beyond his years.
It's Binns day!— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) September 18, 2023
Young winger Jaxon Binns has been acknowledged for an outstanding debut season in the VFL, named in the competition's Team of the Year! @CarltonReserves
“It was incredibly encouraging and inspiring to watch the way each of our award winners upheld themselves with high standards throughout the entire season.
“For Ben and Lachie to not only be dedicated to their own craft but to also lead and help grow others around them is a value that is hard to teach and one we hold highly within the Club.
“Heath is an extremely deserving recipient. He has come into our side and has shown such enthusiasm and passion to learn and grow that is really encouraging and contagious to those around him. He has really been embraced by everyone around him.
“The Club is honoured to have each and every player involved in the VFL program. We will continue to invest and evolve our players to give them the best opportunity to enhance their skills and better their football.”
2023 Carlton VFL awards
Winner: Jaxon Binns
Second place (tied): Paddy Dow and Lachie Plowman
Third place: Ned Cahill
Best Young Player: Heath Ramshaw
Best Clubman: Lachlan Swaney
Coaches Award: Ben Ronke
Players Award: Luke Parks