During the pre-season, young gun Kyle Langford from the Essendon Bombers came down to the YJFL Summer Development Program to have a kick and share some stories with the stars of the future.
Kyle was a junior player for Macleod and played in many YJFL representative squads. He then got selected for the Northern Knights and the Vic Metro team. In 2014 he was selected to the Essendon Bombers in the Nation Draft at No.17.
He spoke with a handful of players about his own junior football career, what he does at the Bombers, who he used to barrack for and gave out many tips.
Starting with some words of wisdom, Kyle said “footy’s not for everyone and a lot of people just do it to have fun but if you do want to make the squad, put in the hard yards now. But if you don’t make the squad it’s not the be all and end all.”
A smaller stature kid, Kyle always put in the hours to get his football to be the best it possibly could. Having a father that was a former Richmond and Fitzroy reserves player helped Kyle develop skills that would split him apart from the rest. “(My dad) took me three or four times a week after school to the oval where we would have a kick. We used to get a bunch of bins to try hit the targets and do this by either handballs or kicks.”
At Essendon, Kyle has big days starting from 8am. This includes two to three hours of touch and a two-hour training session on the field. He says “putting that time on the things you want to improve on is extremely important. Always be present and get the most out of every session you can.”
As a youngster Kyle and his family were passionate Bulldogs fans. But now since he got drafted, they’ve all switched to support him at the Bombers. “My favourite player was Adam Cooney who I played with in my first year when I was drafted to Essendon. He came across after being at the Bulldogs for a bit to play with the Bombers.”
A Q&A session followed Kyle’s talk and he was asked about the positions he played as a junior. His time at Macleod was spent at centre half back because that’s where the football spent its time in his teams. “When I went into my 18’s year I played school footy at Ivanhoe Grammar and I played purely at centre half back and at Northern Knights I was at centre half forward and then at Vic Metro which I was lucky enough to get in, I played centre half back.” Being drafted to Essendon gave Kyle a chance to spread his skills. “I never really played midfield properly and all of a sudden Woosha (John Worsfold, Essendon coach) wants me to play midfield, so it’s quite exciting.”
Kyle has great memories of former Bomber Jobe Watson. He found his leadership and playing ability to be incredible. But players in the current squad he admires for their teaching ability. “Dyson Heppell, Zach Merritt and Dylan Shiel have all been great to learn off.”
A post shared by Yarra Junior Football League (@yjfl_au) on Feb 21, 2020 at 5:01pm PST
The YJFL Summer Development Program for 2020/21 will begin once again in mid-October to mid-November. Be on the lookout for registrations to not miss out on great opportunities like this.