An athletic talent from South Australia, Kaine Baldwin made his debut in the red and black in round one of the 2022 season.

An impressive story of resilience, Baldwin faced a series of injury struggles approaching the 2021 NAB AFL Draft before being signed to Essendon's list as an SSP player.


Playing four games at AFL level throughout his first injury-free year, the 194cm goal kicker had a lot to prove. 

"I really enjoyed last year, I think I definitely improved more than I thought I was going to from where I started through pre-season," Baldwin said.

"To get a round one debut was probably not what I was expecting, and I definitely got some great lessons from the four games that I did play, which allowed me to develop some good form in the VFL later in the year, and that has just provided me a really good base for this pre-season.”

Showing his potential at VFL level, Baldwin has been a key target up forward, kicking 24 goals from 11 games, including a season-best five goals in round four against Port Melbourne.

Baldwin signed a one-year contract extension during the off-season and is committed to performing at the top level in 2023. 


The 20-year-old also has aspirations off the field. Studying a Bachelor of Science, if he wasn't playing AFL, Baldwin says he would be working in Medicine. 

Finishing his first year of university and scoring his AFL debut, 2022 was a big year for the tall-forward. 

While the off-season presented Baldwin with the well-deserved opportunity to travel overseas with his teammates, he hasn’t missed a beat in preparing for 2023.

Back home in Glenelg, South Australia, Baldwin spent time in high-performance training, honing in on his pre-season fitness.

Essendon has made some integral changes during the off-season, notably the appointment of senior coach Brad Scott.

“Scotty’s' (Brad Scott) already putting in some new changes to our style, and he’s been really good at implementing those by drip feeding ideas that we’re able to work through on the track, and not overwhelming anyone," Baldwin said.

“It’s clear the changes he is making are going to be positive for our game, and everyone is happy about that, you can already see the positive impact that he is going to have.”

Ben Jacobs, Michael Hurley, Travis Cloke and Brent Stanton have all joined the coaching staff ahead of this season in development roles. 

“I think everyone’s pretty excited and looking forward to working with all the new development coaches," Baldwin said.

"It’s been obvious already at training the amount of staff we have out on the track. It promotes more individual feedback, how we can each develop our games, and the finer details, rather than just looking at ourselves globally.”

Ahead of 2023, Baldwin is eager to put more games on the board, and take on a larger off-field role at the club.

“I just want to play as much AFL as I can next year, and I think there is also an opportunity to take a little bit of leadership amongst the younger boys with our Jack Jones Academy, and try and help some of these new draftees through," Baldwin said. 

“Overall, I just want to be as consistent as I can, I’m continuing to work on my marking craft, working closely with 'Hurls' (Hurley), 'Stants' (Stanton) and Travis Cloke, who are all going to be really important for my development.”