This time last year, it’s well-known Kyle Langford wasn’t even in Essendon’s forward plans.

Training as a defender throughout the 2023 pre-season, Langford was swung into the opposing end of the ground to help replace the hole left by reigning Crichton Medallist Peter Wright, who succumbed to a major shoulder injury on the eve of round one.

Fast-track to now, Langford is the jewel in the Bombers’ offensive crown after claiming an All Australian Squad nod, runner up in the Crichton Medal and taking out the Matthew Lloyd Leading Goalkicker Award following a stunning 51-goal season.


As he prepares to help spearhead Essendon’s forward line with a healthy Wright by his side, creating cohesion is firmly on the 26-year-old’s mind.

But building chemistry with Wright isn’t the end-game Langford’s aiming for, instead looking to link together a full-strength forward mix who are enjoying a clean run at pre-season.

“We’ve had a really consistent pre-season to date with not many on the injury list, so it’s going to build us in good stead for 2024,” Wright said.

“This pre-season is all about building connection with those players. We only had a little bit of Pete last year with the shoulder (so it’d be great if) If we can (build) that connection.”


One youngster in particular has caught the eye of Langford in fifth-year forward Harry Jones.

The 22-year-old has booted 35 goals in 31 games for the Bombers but has been cruelled by two years of stress-related injuries.

As he enjoys a clear run at training, Jones is one player Langford’s tipping to add another dimension to Essendon’s forward line after producing an impressive pre-season.

“Harry’s been unbelievable,” he said.

“It’s kind of the best footy I’ve seen him put together in a while. His body and head’s feeling really good.”


With little over a month to go until Essendon’s first practice match against St Kilda on February 23, the Bombers have firmly put the lessons learnt from last season’s missed opportunity to play finals football.

Despite being a shining light in a disappointing end to 2023, Langford knows a team effort is required to break into the top eight and claim a September berth.

“For my own personal expectation, it’s not about kicking 50 goals, if we can have three to four players kick 30 goals, it’s a great representation of the system we’re trying to build,” Langford said.

“There’s a really good competitive balance up forward, in the midfield and down back. What our round one team looks like will probably be different to our round 17 team.

“We’re really excited for the season. The back of 2023 is what it was. Our expectation is to build on that and have more of a consistent year.”