What better place to start post-season player reviews than with one of the most divisive players on our list?
Let’s not sugarcoat it, Langford had a very disappointing year. For a third year player who has a decent sized frame and hasn’t had many injury troubles, six mediocre senior games isn’t good enough.
We know that he’s an ok 3rd tall forward with pretty good hands, but the coaches clearly see him as a midfielder. Unfortunately, he didn’t spend much time in the midfield at senior level so we can only conclude that he isn’t good enough to play there.
If you’ve found yourself furiously agreeing with the above, then don’t read any further as I’m putting my Langford fan hat on.
Firstly, he has been hard done by in terms of selection; after round 4 (when he was rightfully dropped) the only other games he played were vs the swans and lions. As disappointing as the lions loss was, he had 19 disposals, 3 clearances and 7 tackles. Hard to see why he was dropped for Myers the following week.
Secondly, the biggest knock on him is his lack of intensity and indecision with the ball in hand. I only went to half a dozen VFL games this year, but imo these problems with his game rarely manifest themselves at that level.
Footballers often talk about ‘adjusting to the pace of afl,’ and I think this is what has held Langford back the most. At vfl level he wins the ball in tight and fires off a handball to a team mate in space. Hell, he doesn’t mind a blind turn to get out of trouble either.
Next year is pretty much make or break for him. With retirements, and some possible delistings, he should be playing senior footy more often than not. If he can produce his vfl style of play at senior level, he will be a very good footballer.
Can he actually do it? I’m confident he can, but the clock is ticking.
Finally, just on the ‘he’s lazy / laconic / doesn’t try hard enough’ rubbish: since he was dropped after the bris game, he has averaged 5.9 tackles per game. Being lazy or afraid of the tough in an under stuff aren’t his weaknesses.