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2013 Review: Will Langford

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Debutant Will Langford of the Hawks in action during the 2013 AFL Round 17 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Western Bulldogs at Aurora Stadium, Launceston on July 20, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Debutant Will Langford of the Hawks in action during the 2013 AFL Round 17 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Western Bulldogs at Aurora Stadium, Launceston on July 20, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Will Langford emerged as one of Hawthorn’s most exciting midfield prospects in 2013 as he thrived on a move into the middle this season.

Originally groomed as a defender, Langford became a prolific ball winner and clearance specialist for Box Hill before his outstanding form finally earned him elevation onto Hawthorn’s senior list.

With season-ending knee injuries to Ryan Schoenmakers and Matt Suckling, Langford joined fellow rookie Jonathon Ceglar on the senior list ahead of the Round 14 game against Brisbane in Tasmania, though he missed out on selection that weekend.

But, just three weeks later, in Round 17, Langford got his chance.

It was one of the feel-good stories of the year when his dad, Chris, presented him with his guernsey ahead of his debut game against the Bulldogs in Tasmania.

It was a modest debut from the 22 year old, who played up forward for the Hawks in the win over the Bulldogs.

While he gathered only four disposals, Langford laid three tackles and showed why he has earned a reputation at the Club as a player who never shirks away from a contest and loves the hard stuff.

At 187cm and 83kgs, he is a good size for a midfielder and that proved true as he became one of Box Hill’s best players this season.

One of his best games for the year came against Werribee when he had 22 possessions, eight inside 50s and a game-high eight clearances but also his 25 disposals, 11 tackles and six clearances against Bendigo after he was omitted from the Hawthorn side.

In that game, he showed great professionalism in his attitude and performance after being omitted from the AFL side after his debut game.

In fact, in his last three home and away matches in the VFL after making his senior debut, Langford averaged 23 disposals, nine tackles and six clearances.

He then translated that good form into the VFL finals, where he gained valuable experience in high pressure matches.

After a modest return by his lofty standards of 15 disposals and six tackles in the qualifying final, Langford was one of the keys to Box Hill’s premiership success in the preliminary and grand finals.

He had 24 touches and 12 clearances in the preliminary final and kicked two goals before he was one of Box Hill’s best in the premiership win.

He had 21 disposals, laid five tackles and had 10 clearances in the grand final win over the Cats.

His impressive finals campaign wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by Alastair Clarkson and the coaches and will almost certainly be given every opportunity to impress during the pre-season matches ahead of season 2014.


What Chris Fagan said: Will was one of the big improvers of the season. He made his debut, and it was one of the more memorable moments of the season when his dad presented him with his jumper with his mum present for the game against the Bulldogs in Tassie.

He became a really good VFL player this year and we’ve got high hopes for Will that he’s going to play a lot of senior games for Hawthorn in the future.

He’s got excellent speed, elite endurance, lots of courage and he’s developing some real confidence. A move into the midfield from the backline proved a winner.