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1500km move pays off for former sparky

Adam Curley, AFL.com.au  December 2, 2017 6:32 PM

Draftee: Zac Langdon In the space of two days, Zac Langdon moved his life from Western Australia to Western Sydney and started his career as a professional AFL player.
Thinking back to a couple of years ago before I moved to Perth, I never would have thought I'd be sitting here. Finding out I'd been drafted was the best feeling of my life. A 'sparky' turned AFL footballer, it's just a dream.

A brave decision to pack up his life and move 1500km from his home in far north Western Australia has paid dividends for GIANTS draftee Zac Langdon.

Langdon, 22, was a relative bolter when the Giants selected him with the first pick of the fourth round, and selection No.56 overall, in last week's NAB AFL Draft.

It was the culmination of a long journey to the AFL, literally.

In 2015, the small forward was an apprentice electrician playing local footy in Dampier, a coastal port in WA, when he realised he needed to change his approach to his footy career.

He was already thinking about a move to Perth to test himself in the WAFL but it was family friend Larry Kickett - a 227-game WAFL star in the 1970s and 80s - who convinced Langdon to take on the challenge of trying to make it with Kickett's former club Claremont. 

Langdon told AFL.com.au that he had to get out of his comfort zone if he had any hope of making the elite level. 

"I was happy playing footy in Dampier, but it wasn't serious enough for me and my dream was still to play in the AFL," he said.

"There were no representative sides up there growing up, so I didn't come through the system in a typical way.

"I really wanted to go to Perth and after speaking with Larry it made up my mind.

"At the time it seemed a bit ambitious, but there really was no other option than going to Claremont and giving it a crack."

Langdon's first season in the WAFL with the Tigers had its challenges, with a spider bite amongst the wacky issues to limit his impact in 2016. 

But he found some consistency in 14 games playing as a small forward this year, both inside 50 and as a lead-up option in the mould of new teammate and 2016 club champion Toby Greene, and the recruiters took notice. 

West Coast and Fremantle matched the GIANTS' interest in the local boy but he ended up in Sydney, and made another long trip to begin his AFL career.

"Thinking back to a couple of years ago before I moved to Perth, I never would have thought I'd be sitting here," he said.

"Finding out I'd been drafted was the best feeling of my life. 

"A 'sparky' turned AFL footballer, it's just a dream."

Langdon said his first week in Sydney has been challenging, but his long-term partner Eli will join him before Christmas, and he's promised he won't be wasting the rare chance he's been craving. 

"It's pretty intimidating walking into an AFL club," he said.

"But from what I've seen the boys are all really driven to achieve success and that’s what I'm here for. 

"I'm not just here to make up the numbers I want to play, and they see that as well."