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Darcy delivers Cats' third rising star nod

Darcy Lang has been named the round 21 NAB Rising Star nominee - ${keywords}
Darcy Lang has been named the round 21 NAB Rising Star nominee

IF THERE was to be a silver lining for Darcy Lang from Geelong's deflating draw with St Kilda, then a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination is probably it.

In a promising sign for the future, the 19-year-old forward has become the third Cat to receive a weekly gong this season – following in the footsteps of Cory Gregson (round six) and Jackson Thurlow (round 19).

Lang ran himself ragged collecting 16 disposals against the Saints, but Geelong couldn't secure the crucial four points needed to stay within a win of Adelaide in eighth spot.

Match preview: Cats v Magpies

"They kicked the first four (goals) before we'd even really got it inside 50 and we were just chasing tail from then and couldn't really peg it back," Lang told AFL.com.au.

"I don't think we played the footy that we wanted to play on the weekend and there's a fair bit to work on if we want to make finals – it's out of our hands to an extent now."

As with all close games, there were countless moments that could have impacted the result.

But mercurial forward Steve Johnson getting mown down running into an open goal is one that Cats fans will lament.

"I said to him at half-time 'Did you hear me?', because I actually kicked it to him," Lang said.

"So I was yelling out 'Kick', but he didn't hear me. He said he just heard the crowd start to roar and thought something must be happening. It all happened pretty quick."

Johnson and Lang have formed a tight bond, with the star veteran one of Lang's chief mentors this season – a year when he's played every game.

"I've worked with Stevie closely this year, just on forward positioning and running patterns and things like that," he said.

"He's been pretty good for me, learning the snappers and a couple of other things as well."

Lang has booted 13 goals and is averaging 14 disposals a match, and is aiming to build his engine so he can soon push up the ground.

The former No.16 draft pick arrived at the Cattery coming off a broken leg in the 2013 Under-18 Championships, but said he's feeling the benefits of a full training workload over the summer.

Having put pen to paper on a new deal tying him to the Cats until at least the end of 2017, the Colac product is set for plenty of opportunities as Geelong continues its transition towards youth.

"Having a couple more pre-seasons under my belt and building more of an aerobic base to have that extended time in the midfield is what I need to get to," Lang said.

"Even just that craft around the stoppages and getting a bigger body to win some contested footy, I need to keep working on that as well."

Darcy Lang's junior club: Colac Junior Football Club.