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A Deserved Debut

A Season Defined - Zac Langdon Every season is made up of thousands of moments and in this series we take a closer look at just some of those starting with the debut of Zac Langdon.

To say it was an emotional 10 minutes for Zac Langdon would be an understatement.

The 22-year-old mature-age recruit, from Perth via remote West Australian town Dampier, had made the big trip across the Nullarbor to launch his AFL journey with the GIANTS.

A tough pre-season was drawing to an end, and round one team selection was around the corner.

But forging the start of an AFL career hadn’t been his only big challenge in recent months – and it was far from the most difficult.

Unbeknownst to his teammates, Langdon’s partner Eli Suleska had been receiving treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer she had been diagnosed with in the lead-up to the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

Although Langdon had been prepared to postpone his AFL dream to stay with his girlfriend during her treatment, she urged him to pursue the rare chance offered to him, and on November 24, 2017 he was drafted by the GIANTS with pick 56.

But with Eli receiving the good news that her treatment had been successful and being given the all-clear, Langdon stood before his teammates to tell them what had been going on since before he made the move east.

Just moments after Langdon shared his story with his teammates, GIANTS co-captain Phil Davis told him he was going to make his AFL debut.

“It was the end of pre-season, when round one selection was coming around and I had to let everyone know my situation with my partner Eli,” Langdon told GIANTS TV, reflecting on his debut.

“It was probably one of the harder things I've had to do. I told all the boys, it was pretty emotional for myself.

“Straight after that, Phil announced that I would be playing my debut. It was a massive day of emotions.

“It was pretty emotional at the time, but I was stoked afterwards and called my parents straight away and they were just over the moon for me.”

Langdon said although he had some idea he might be in the frame to line up for the GIANTS’ AFL team in the season opener against the Western Bulldogs at UNSW Canberra Oval, he had not expected to be selected.

The elation that followed the announcement was “surreal”.

“It felt like draft night all over again,” Langdon said. “It was massive.

“I didn’t know if I would go through a whole season without playing a game or ... I really wasn’t sure what would happen once coming to the club.

“As soon as your name is read out, it’s a completely different feeling, similar to when Leon and Phil told me I’d be debuting.

“It’s surreal, I still pinch myself today.”

A Season Defined is a nine-part series that will be released over the coming weeks, taking a look back at some of the key moments from the GIANTS’ rollercoaster 2018 season.