A warm welcome and a VFL contract sat awaiting Darcy Lang at the start of 2021.

Drafted in 2013, he spent four years with the Geelong Football Club, playing 44 games at senior level.

After signing with Carlton for three years (2018-2020) and a three-week stint playing in the NTFL, he is well and truly back.

With all his experience at AFL level, Lang is looking to focus on his love of the game for the 2021 VFL season.

“I haven’t put too many pressures on myself coming back.” he said.

“I just really want to enjoy my time and enjoy footy for what it is without putting too much pressure on yourself.”

“I really enjoy being here and living here so we’ll see how we go.”

Darcy Lang is back where it all began. Credit Arj Giese.

His time in the AFL system and menteeship under some Geelong elites will prove a valuable asset amongst a well-balanced team.

“The club was in a really good spot when I arrived, and obviously coming off premierships they worked really hard.”

“A lot of the senior players taught me how to work hard, earn respect and that everyone plays an important part in the team.”

“Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly and Steve Johnson invested a lot of time in me and taught me a lot of things.”

“They were really hard on me at certain times but also, if I did something right, they were the first ones to pump me up.”

Coming into a different situation at Carlton with injuries and a younger list was a reality check and showed Lang “football isn’t everything”.

“It shouldn’t define your mood, there’s bigger things in life than footy although it’s your career.”

“I gained an appreciation for how hard footy is and everything that comes with it.”

Darcy Lang played 44 AFL games for Geelong between 2014 and 2017.

With the fallout from 2020 and a new-look league, experienced players like Lang, Jackson Thurlow, Ryan Abbott and Aaron Black will be invaluable.

Add those names to others like Ben Jarvis, Dan Capiron and Quinton Narkle and you’ve got a pretty good side on your hands.

“I think there’s a lot of good players here, we all get on really well and we’ve been working hard the past couple of months.”

Geelong’s first VFL match for 2021 will be against North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on 18 April.

The squad will also face-up against Coburg in a practice match this Saturday from 1pm AEDT at Deakin University.