Darcy Lang left the country a Cat yesterday morning and landed in Bali a Blue — but the colours he now dons are far from the ones that reflect his mood.
In the air for the final hours of the AFL trade period, Lang only paid for 100MB of Wi-Fi to use in the sky and was forced to wait for a WhatsApp message from his manager not long before the deadline to learn of his fate.
While the trade was made public with around 30 minutes to spare, Lang admits there was a period where he was worried.
“The thought of the trade not getting done did cross my mind, maybe with around 40 minutes to go,” Land told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“But thankfully it all worked out in the end. Scotty Lucas, my manager, was super throughout the whole process and he kept me in the loop. Carlton were busy themselves earlier in the day so I knew it’d take time before any trade with me eventuated. When I got the message, I was pretty excited but also relieved.”
After a breakout season in 2015, Lang had an indifferent 2016, playing 13 games as the Cats surged back into Premiership contention.
The 21-year-old was back on track at the beginning of this season, featuring in eight of the first 13 home and away matches before a cracked fibula derailed his season until a call-up during the finals.
But just before he went down with the lower leg injury, Lang had a meeting with the Cats and that’s where the initial thoughts of exploring his options first entered his head.
“I had a meeting with Geelong in the middle of the year and they said they couldn’t guarantee me a contract then and there,” Lang added.
“So after speaking with Scotty, we decided it’d be best to put in some work between then and the end of the year because we didn’t want to get to the end of the season and not have any options.
“Carlton showed some interest during the last trade period and we spoke to them semi-regularly towards the end of the year, not including finals, and after the year ended.”
Lang, a Colac native, made the tough decision to join the Blues after also fielding offers from Gold Coast and North Melbourne.
In the end, the chance to build something special with a young list — most of which are around Lang’s age — was too good to refuse for the 44-game midfielder.
He’s received many messages from family, friends and even some from former and new teammates and will begin the process of moving his life a little closer to his new workplace.
But he leaves behind the club that helped him achieve his childhood dream and is forever grateful for what they did for him as an athlete and as a person.
“They’re a great club who have been outstanding to me throughout my four years here and it was close to home and close to family. They’ve been good to me, Geelong.”