Kaine Baldwin has commenced training with Essendon after flying over from South Australia.

Kaine Baldwin has arrived at Essendon to train with his new teammates for the first time.

Kaine Baldwin has taken the next step in his recovery from consecutive ACL injuries, arriving at the Hangar to begin training with his teammates at the Bombers.

Essendon took a chance on the desperately unlucky key forward, who was a phenomenal talent in his junior years. The Glenelg product fell through both the National and Rookie Drafts before he was snapped up in the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP).

Baldwin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at the beginning of his 2019 season, and partially tore the same ligament prior to his 2020 campaign. This ruled him out for the entirety of both his bottom-age and top-age seasons.

Despite the long term injury lay-off, his campaign at the Under 16’s National Championships for South Australia was undeniable. As the focal point of his side’s attack, he helped South Australia to the 2018 Premiership.

Kaine Baldwin in the 2018 under 16s SANFL Grand Final (#21 for Glenelg)

At this point he was touted as a clear first round pick, but consecutive knee injuries saw clubs cool on him leading into his draft year.

Baldwin is a pure marker of the footy, and uses his size (194cm and 90kg) to aggressively impact contests.

Essendon supporters will be keeping a keen eye on Baldwin’s rehabilitation with the knowledge that their side has often-times lacked a key forward presence in attack.

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Essendon coach Ben Rutten was excited to see him integrate into training at the Hangar.

“He’s just come back from a knee reconstruction,” Rutten said.

“Basically we’ve had a program for him the last few weeks while he’s finished off some study.”

Asked if he would be seen at any level this year, Rutten admitted he has some hurdles to get through as he ramps up his workloads.

“Now he’s back in the program full time we’ll get a better look at him about where he’s at [and] some of the areas he needs to improve on physically.

“There’s a timeline there for his knee that we need to work with and be respectful of.”

Baldwin is on a one year rookie contract with Essendon for 2021.

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