Cat shows his met­tle af­ter break­ing leg

NT News - - AFL - LACHIE YOUNG

“I tried to do the right things and play the right way” DARCY LANG

THERE are many AFL play­ers who would strug­gle to get their head around the idea they could re­cover from a bro­ken fibula in June in time to play fi­nals.

Darcy Lang is not one of those play­ers.

The 21-year-old frac­tured his leg against Fre­man­tle in Round 14 and missed the next six weeks work­ing his back­side off in the re­cov­ery process.

He then played three games in the VFL but with the Cats fly­ing at the end of the home­and-away sea­son it seemed in­play creas­ingly un­likely he would earn a re­call.

As the VFL sea­son came to an end, Lang con­tin­ued to push hard at train­ing and de­spite the odds be­ing stacked against him, never gave up hope that there was still a mean­ing­ful role for him to play in Septem­ber.

“It’s just a lot of self-be­lief and that’s pretty much it, you’ve just got to have that be­lief in your­self to play,” Lang said.

“I didn’t get in­jured at a great time but through my re­hab I tried to tick ev­ery box and when I was play­ing VFL I tried to do the right things and the right way.

“I worked on my con­tested footy and I knew the more I played and the more tran­si­tion it would get bet­ter.

“They (the coaches) sort of just say to keep en­gaged. It’s very dis­ap­point­ing when you miss out on get­ting picked but you can’t drop your bun­dle be- cause things do hap­pen and when you get your chance you’ve got to take it with both hands.”

Lang cer­tainly took his chance against Syd­ney on Fri­day night.

A week af­ter Gee­long was touched up by Richmond, the first-round draft se­lec­tion from 2013 was among his team’s best play­ers on a night where there were few pas­sen­gers.

Only Mitch Dun­can (14) and Lachie Hen­der­son (13) took more marks than Lang’s 13, and only Mark Bli­cavs (14), Scott Sel­wood (10) and Sam Mene­gola (eight) laid more tack­les — Lang had six.

Those num­bers speaks to his work rate and will­ing­ness to run and ap­ply pres­sure, and while the 24 dis­pos­als were a bonus, what stood out was that even when the game was in Gee­long’s keep­ing, Lang was still ac­tive late in the con­test lay­ing tack­les deep in Syd­ney’s at­tack­ing end.

The former Co­lac ju­nior, who is out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son, said play­ing his first fi­nal was “pretty spe­cial” and that the Cats had never doubted they had the ca­pac­ity to turn things around so quickly.

Pic­ture: PHIL HILLYARD

Gee­long's Darcy Lang hand­balls as he is tack­led by Syd­ney's Tom Pap­ley dur­ing their AFL semi-fi­nal at the MCG on Fri­day night

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