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Langer officially a legend Queenslander

The game of rugby league is full of changes. However, some things do remain the same, like young fans discovering and falling in love with Allan Langer.

For those who grew up as the little maestro was making his name in the game, the memories of what he could do on the football field don’t fade, they are at the forefront of the mind and it only takes a slight probe to bring them flooding back.

If you grew up in Ipswich, those memories blaze even stronger of a No.7 who was so bold, he’d just do whatever came to him when playing with the Ipswich Jets, be it placing perfect kicks for Gordon Langton or weaving his way through the opposition.

Everyone wanted to be like Allan Langer. Every kid watching would say to to their parents, ‘I want to be like him’.

Inducted into the QSport Hall of Fame in 2009 – last Thursday night, the fan favourite became on the 21st athlete to be elevated to Legend status at their 26th annual awards ceremony in front of more than 600 guests.

Joined at his table by two men who played a key role in his career in Wayne Bennett and Kevin Walters, Langer spoke on stage in his inimitable style about some of the highlights of his career.

Allan Langer with good friend Wayne Bennett. Photo: QRL
Allan Langer with good friend Wayne Bennett. Photo: QRL

One particularly emotional moment during the evening came when ‘Alfie’ spoke about his parents and the work they had done to support him over the course of his career, which began as a junior playing with Norths in Ipswich.

Allan Langer's mum Rita in rare interview

It only took 33 games with the Jets for Langer to make an impression, playing the sort of football that is still being talked about 36 years later.

Langer would go on from those Jets days and play 288 games for the Brisbane Broncos, 34 Origin matches for Queensland and make 24 Test appearances for the Kangaroos.

The latest recognition for Langer saw him join Rod Laver, Arthur Beetson and Greg Norman as one of Queensland’s legends.

“I never thought that I’d accomplish any of this... it seems unbelievable for a kid from beautiful Ipswich,” Langer said.

“I just wanted to play for the Jets and if that’s all my life had in store for me, then I would have died pretty happy. I wouldn’t change anything.

“I think about my parents a lot, just hard-working Ipswich people. They sacrificed so much and worked so hard.

“To have Kevie Walters, Wayne Bennett and Darryl Van de Velde there on my table was special.”

Walters said he was honoured to be one of the guests invited to celebrate Langer’s milestone.

“It’s nearly 50 years ago I was playing against Alf at the North Ipswich Reserve,” Walters said.

“Now, he has a statue (outside Suncorp Stadium) and is rated a 'legend'. Did we need to be told he was a legend?

“It was a great night and I am proud of my mate.

“Alf is incredibly loyal and he has never forgotten where he came from and his parents Rita and Harry can be proud of him and the man he is now.”

Allan Langer in action for the Maroons. Photo: NRL Images
Allan Langer in action for the Maroons. Photo: NRL Images

QRL statewide competitions director Van de Velde was there with his great mate and former player and could easily explain why the Langer story endures.

“Great recognition for an outstanding contribution to our game,” Van de Velde said.

“The best player I ever coached and the best human I have coached. Alf’s legacy is that he remembers where he came from. He makes time for photos and autographs... nothing is too much trouble.”

While it may be official now - that Langer is a legend of Queensland sport, anyone who saw him play had already bestowed Langer with legend status a long time ago. But now, it has been made official. So that's that.