A mix of new faces and returning talent has Kyle Langford excited by Essendon’s forward prospects leading into the 2024 season.

With Jade Gresham joining the fray this pre-season alongside Harry Jones and Jake Stringer at full health, more opportunities to train as a collective forward unit has provided a major boost for Langford.

Langford booted 51 goals last season to claim the club’s leading goal kicker award, providing a solid target in the absence of former Crichton Medallist Peter Wright to injury at different stages of the year.

While the build-up to round one can hold a sense of unpredictability, Langford told SEN’s The Run Home he’s feeling reassured by the Bombers’ body of work over the pre-season, particularly in the forward half.


“Absolutely (there’s some nerves and excitement), your pre-season goes for so long and you work on absolutely everything, but it doesn’t mean much until you play an opposition. The pre-season games give you a bit of a taste, but it really does step up in the intensity level once you’re playing for points,” Langford said.

“That (chance for the forwards to all play together) was something that we were missing a bit last year, but this pre-season’s been great for training alongside Pete, ‘String’ (Stringer) and Harry. Having ‘Gresh’ (Gresham) in the front half brings unbelievable skill there as well.

“The really good forward lines in the competition have that obvious synergy and are really connected with each other, so being able to work on that throughout pre-season will really help us moving into the year.”

The inclusion of experienced recruits further up the ground in Todd Goldstein, Xavier Duursma and Ben McKay has strengthened the depth of the Bombers’ outfit, inviting competition for spots as the season begins.

For Langford, one of the big positives from the recruits has been their ability to aid the development of the Bombers’ younger players, especially in the case of emerging talls Zach Reid and Nate Caddy.


“We’re really excited to put into practice what we’ve been working on for the last 3-4 months, we’ve added some real key talent and experience in all lines of the ground,” Langford said.

“Albeit being the oldest player on our list, Todd’s been outstanding throughout pre-season, Duursma’s playing with some real confidence and run in his game, ‘Benny’ McKay’s been great to sure up our defence and help out Zach Reid, who’s really flourished back there with him.

“We’ve tinkered with a bit of our strategy but bringing in those (experienced) players will help the maturity of our group moving forward.

“(There’s) also young Nate Caddy as well, who the Essendon fans should be excited to see. There’s no doubt he’ll play footy this year, I don’t know how long that might take but he’s got undeniable talent so I’m excited to play alongside him.”

The Bombers’ 2024 campaign officially begins when they take on old rivals Hawthorn this Saturday at the MCG.

Heading into his 10th AFL season, Langford’s ready for the Bombers to take on their first test of the new year.


“It’s super even across the playing board, there’s going to be no easy games and we’re looking forward to seeing how we shape up amongst the competition. Let’s make (Essendon v Hawthorn) a round one blockbuster every year, that’d be great,” Langford said.

Secure your ticket for the Bombers’ big round one clash here.