Lions in Focus: Sam Binion

Sam Binion started his junior football career with the Montmorency Football Club in 2006 as an eight year old and for the better part of a decade remained there until he obtained a position with the Northern Knights in the then TAC Cup.

‘I played all more junior football with Montmorency and then when I was 17 I played football for the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup for three years (2015-2017),’ Binion said.

‘After my time with the Knights I went back to Montmorency and played senior football with them just for that year.’

As fate would have it Binion made his debut for Coburg in May last year against the 2017 runners up in Richmond despite only being at the VFL club for not even one week. Two players, one who was set to play as the 23rdman and the other; the emergency 23rdman, pulled up sore from training that Thursday which left that spot available for game day paving way for Binion’s chance.

‘It was a bit of a funny one my first game, I only came down during the week,’ Binion said.

‘I was playing local football at Montmorency in Division 1 (in the Northern Football League) and I got a call from Seb Spagnuolo and he said for me to come down for some training and see how I go.’

‘I went on the Tuesday night and said I’d come back the next week for some training. It was on Thursday after training that I received a call saying if I wanted to play that weekend.’

‘I was a bit shocked and wasn’t really sure how to take it. I didn’t really know any of the structures so I just went in with an open mind.’

‘I played okay; it was definitely a good experience, probably none bigger than playing Richmond at Punt Road.’

Binion played four matches for Coburg as a forward kicking a goal in every game before he lined up once again for Montmorency.  A broken nose curtailed his return to his local club as he missed the remainder of the season.

Despite this setback Binion was still good enough to finish fourth in the clubs best and fairest, a significant achievement in his debut senior season.

Before Coburg had come calling in May 2018, Binion had come to terms with playing in local league football for the time being after his three year spell with the Northern Knights had ended the year earlier.

‘Obviously you have aspirations of playing at a higher level, I want to play at the highest level I can and improve my football as much as I can,’ Binion said.

‘I thought it was an opportunity to come to Coburg and thought it would be stupid to not give it a go.’

Although Binion’s 2019 preseason was restricted due to a back injury, it hasn’t prevented him lining up in all of Coburg’s six VFL games to date this season including two practice matches for Montmorency.

‘It’s a lot better now, just maintaining it throughout the year and keeping on top of it,’ Binion said.

‘I didn’t have the preseason I would’ve liked; I didn’t get to do a whole lot of sessions and was probably lucky to get into the round one line-up.’

‘But after a few games under my belt I’m starting to feel like I’m fit and well now and can have a bit more impact. I’m really enjoying it.

In this day and age many footballers try to model their game style on a particular individual but that isn’t the case with Binion who prefers to add different skills from a variety of players including two current stars in the AFL.

‘I like to pick little bits of player’s game but there isn’t really one player in particular I model my game off,’ Binion said.

‘Across all different lines it’s different, for my forward craft I like to look at Jordan De Goey from Collingwood, see how he plays and try to pick up some of the things he does.’

‘As a midfielder I look at Patrick Cripps’s inside work. They are two completely different types of players but I try to take stuff out of their games.’

Despite football being a strong focus throughout most of his life Binion understands that there are bigger things in life.

‘I think you probably realise that as much as there is an on field aspect to the game, there is a lot more off the field that you can be doing like trying to be a good role model in the community,’ Binion said.

‘It’s not always about the football, it’s good to be a part of all that but something like the Coburg Football Club is able to provide you a lot more than just that.’

Outside of football, Binion is a third year electrician and currently works at RBL Electrical where he works on domestic households with a focus on air-conditioning. Binion also has one more year to go before he completes his studies at Heidelberg’s Melbourne Polytechnic TAFE campus.  

‘I’m really happy with the choice I made to pursue that, I think it has been really good for me,’ Binion said.

‘I had an idea that I wanted to do that before I started it. I was able to work with my dad a bit prior to starting so that was good, it’s helpful having your dad as the boss being able to work as it’s not easy finding a gig with someone else.’

Although Binion has ambitions he hopes to achieve in the near future, he is still is happy to take his time and find the right direction by living in the moment.

‘I’d like to see myself still playing football, probably doing very similar things to now,’ Binion said.

‘I would like to pursue having my own company or something along those lines but it is pretty hard to see what the future looks like, I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow let alone in 10 years.’

‘I haven’t put too much thought into it.’

An ardent Geelong Cats supporter, Binion couldn’t be more pleased with how the AFL side has started the season.

‘I like going to watch Geelong when I can, I’d like to go and see a few games in Geelong this year but obviously it can be a little bit hard,’ Binion said.

‘On the side, catching up with my mates when I can is always fun, there are a lot of 21sts on this year so that gives me a few chances to see them.’

Like his teammate Adam Swierzbiolek, Binion too appreciates his time overseas and hopes to see more of the world in the near future.

‘I definitely want to travel, I was in Spain with my girlfriend Marina over Christmas and I think that has made me want to go and see the world a lot more, it’s definitely something I want to do in the future,’ Binion said.

‘We went to Valencia and stayed with her family which was nice before going Barcelona and then Ibiza. It’s something I definitely want to go back and see, there’s a lot more of Europe to
see even America as well.’

‘There are lots of places I want to go to, travelling is high on the cards.’

The 20 year old, despite his hopes and ambitions, is a quiet young man and understands that respect is earned not given.

‘I’m an upfront type of guy, not really the loudest guy at the football club and I’d think everyone would agree on that,’ Binion said.

‘I just try to treat people the way you want to be treated and I don’t think you can really go wrong there. With me, what you see is what you get.’