As Langdon prepared to play West Coast – a team he had never enjoyed a win against – the news came through that the season was on hold until at least May 31.
Then his new coach Simon Goodwin showed footage from Langdon’s family just before he ran out on the ground and his emotions were high.
“It was quite moving to be honest. Mum [Belinda], dad [Chris] and my sister [Olivia] said some nice things and then Tom [his brother] chucked in some subtle digs at my game … to be honest it was expected from him,” Langdon said.
Tom, of course, is a staunch Collingwood defender who was one of the Magpies’ best in the 2018 grand final. He made it clear he would always have the edge over his Demon opponent, in his own mind at least.
“He pretty much just slagged off my kicking ability and a few other aspects of my game but I give it back to him just as much so it is all fair,” Langdon said.
The brothers, who are good friends, have been training together during the isolation period as Tom attempts to return from a delibitating knee injury that has left his career in doubt.
“He is going well and is in a good head space at the moment,” Langdon said.
“He is still battling with his knee but we’ll see how that all goes.”
Ed suspects his pre-season with Melbourne was his best yet and had him primed to play the role he was recruited to play to the best of his ability. Thirty-one touches in his opening hitout for the Demons was a good sign, even if the team lost to the powerful West Coast.
“The pre-season was the hardest I have worked and the most fun I have had,” Langdon said.
Apart from one hundred 100s, sprung upon the group in their last session before Christmas, Langdon can easily recall the pain of torturous 7am hill runs near Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance under new conditioning coach Darren Burgess, completed on Saturday morning just hours after a 15-kilometre Friday session.
Not that Langdon minds hard work or pushing his body. He walked an ancient pilgrim trail in Japan on his own in the off-season before heading to New Zealand, then Europe. A keen photographer and traveller, he indulged both hobbies as the trade from the Dockers to Melbourne was completed.
“I am a big hiker. It was probably one of the best experiences I have had, walking pretty much 10 hours a day and wouldn’t see a soul but see these beautiful mountains and these old pilgrim trails that come out to beautiful towns in the mountains,” Langdon said.
“I would then just sleep on some guy’s floor and then do it all again the next day.”
He’s ready to go when the time comes, hoping that he and Adam Tomlinson – who joined Melbourne from the Giants to play on the wing – can push the Demons back up the ladder towards where they landed in 2018.
“It’s no secret that outside mid role is one they missed last year. They were playing a few guys out of position and so they went to get me and Adam,” Langdon said.
“They are not expecting Adam or myself to come in and do anything different to what we have been doing in the past. I am loving it and hopefully we can get some success in the next few years.”
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.