PLAYING with a chip on his shoulder is working for Collingwood defender Tom Langdon.
The 19-year-old capped a great start to his AFL career by being named the round seven NAB AFL Rising Star nominee on Monday.
It's a just reward for the Sandringham Dragons product, who persevered with his dream to play AFL after being overlooked in the 2012 national draft.
Thrown a lifeline by the Pies at pick No.65 last year, Langdon says being made to wait has only fuelled his determination to grab his chance.
He's now played all seven games this season and is tightening his grip on a spot in Collingwood's undermanned - but not underperforming - backline.
"Knowing that two years ago that 18 clubs didn't even want to look at you, and I guess two years later I've put in a lot of hard work and improved in a lot of areas, there's no doubt there's motivation there," Langdon told AFL.com.au.
"I guess I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder, but I see that in a good way.
"Because as 'Bucks' (coach Nathan Buckley) knows I set pretty high standards for myself, so that has come about through missing out in 2012.
"I just want to keep performing to a level to which I'm satisfied with and keep improving and I guess missing out has really helped that."
Buckley was renowned as a competitive animal in his playing days and has encouraged Langdon's ruthless streak.
"He definitely encourages it. He says 'Don’t let it consume your thoughts too much, but know you're just a first-year player so know that all you have to do at this stage is play your role for the team'," Langdon said.
"He's really helped me out in that department, instead of setting too-high goals for myself."
Langdon's crowning moment of his blossoming career came in his first taste of the famous Carlton-Collingwood rivalry at the MCG last Friday night.
The 189cm young gun displayed terrific composure as he gathered 23 disposals – including 10 contested – with eight marks and four inside 50s in the Pies' 34-point triumph.
Far from being overawed by the occasion, Langdon revelled in the atmosphere.
Experiencing the emotion of the Anzac Day clash against Essendon – when he had 22 touches and seven marks - served as ideal preparation.
However, Langdon has never lacked self-belief and confidence.
"I guess the perception was always there through a lot of external people that didn't know me too well that my laid-back and laconic nature was perceived as not really caring and not really doing everything I could to play AFL football," he said.
"That was an area that I had to try and convince people ... and my body language at times playing the game.
"There were a few football things, such as playing midfield. It showed that I could play a variety of roles because I played forward as a junior and obviously back now.
"I told the recruiters in 2012, I said 'I haven't had the best year this year, but if no one picks me I'll be back next year and I've got no doubt that I will eventually get picked up'.
"I guess missing out, you've really got to have a lot of self-belief and confidence in your ability or you'll never make it.
"I guess that's the same with a lot of things in life."
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