Darcy Lang (Geelong Falcons)
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player comparison: Luke Ball
Strengths: Contested ball, vision, endurance
Weaknesses: Pure inside, some injury concerns
Darcy Lang is one of the most underrated players in the TAC Cup for season 2013. He plays for the Geelong Falcons and is in the same midfield as Lewis Taylor, James Tsitas and Nic Bourke which might explain why he might be considered the ‘forgotten man’ when opposition teams discuss how to stop the mighty Falcons.
Lang is similar to Tsitas in the way he buries himself under packs and gets out the hard ball time and time again to the outside midfielders such as Lewis Taylor or Matthew Boag. He doesn’t find the ball as much as Tsitas but uses it a little better in pressure situations.
He has fantastic vision from under a pack and can rapid fire a handball out to a running teammate very similar to North Ballarat’s Matt Crouch. While he might not be as highly touted as Crouch, if you were to need a similar player later in the draft, Lang might be the guy to turn to.
He does prefer to handball it a fair bit but his kicking is far from inefficient, hitting more targets than not which helps him maintain his spot in such a strong midfield. He was impressing at the Under 18s Championships before injury struck him down.
A terrible ankle injury that has ruled him out of playing football since the fateful day against Vic Metro at Etihad Stadium has seen question marks arise as to who he’ll end up athletically. From all reports so far, his injury was bad, but it shouldn’t affect his football career.
Ideally it might set him back a little bit in terms of pre-season training as he aims to build the strength and confidence he would have lost not to mention match fitness. Lang is a tough, uncompromising midfielder and it is unlikely he’ll be affected too much by the injury and just glad it didn’t need reconstructing.
In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Lang was selected by Collingwood with its third round selection. Having acquired Lewis Taylor earlier in the draft, Lang adds that inside touch to help replace Luke Ball when he retires and help out the likes of Josh Thomas and Jarryd Blair on the inside. At this stage he is more like Ball due to his pure inside role but if he can develop the same way as Thomas, he can move to also play outside and be a real goal scoring threat too.
Given his efficiency this season has been around 80 per cent, Lang has been incredibly influential in the Falcons’ rise up the ladder. He is one of many players who could be drafted by the ‘Falcons football factory’ and should become someone who is well received at AFL level. While his statistics say he has a huge hurt factor, he is much better at making others look great and making them hurt you with penetrating kicks when they’re loose outside a stoppage situation.
Lang will most likely be a later pick somewhere from the third round onwards and it will just depend how the clubs view his ankle injury and whether he’s had as much exposure as other draftees around the same area. Either way, Lang should find an AFL club in November and will no doubt become a valuable contributor to a midfield needing an inside gut-running midfielder over the next few years.