Rugby league legend Allan Langer shares a chat about some of the life lessons he's learned, as well as his top achievements and biggest regrets.
Rugby league legend Allan Langer shares a chat about some of the life lessons he's learned, as well as his top achievements and biggest regrets. Getty Images

PODCAST: Alfie reveals best week of his life, and his regret

ALLAN 'Alfie' Langer is one of the greatest rugby league players to ever pick up a ball.

At 52, he is still involved in the game he loves as a self-confessed, water boy.

He has a chat about the life lessons he's learned, as well as his top achievements and biggest regrets.

 

Matt Collins:

At 52, you run out on that field like you want to get the ball. What are some of the things that keep you so fit and healthy?

 

Allan Langer:

Well, I enjoy life. I walk and run most days. I do a few light weights just to keep fit. As everyone knows I enjoy a drink and a good time, but on the other side you've got to eat well, you've got to have a balance. I train most days, even if I have a little bit of a hangover. You've still got to get up and train and get out of bed.

 

MC:

Do you train with Broncos boys as well?

 

AL:

No, they're far too much for me. I do it on my own so I can go as hard or as soft as I need to go.

 

MC:

I am assuming you don't lose that competitive spirit or that need to do well. Do you still have that?

 

AL:

Well, even at a game, I keep calling for it but they won't pass it to me. But I am lucky to still be involved with the Queensland team and the Broncos. But to be out on the field and running around, it is a great feeling. It's the best place to watch the game. I don't get sore, I don't have to make a tackle or get tackled.

 

MC:

Let's talk State of Origin. Players like yourself, Johnathon Thurston, Billy Slater are there to assist and mentor the players. I am assuming a lot of that is just to pass on your experiences and what they should be doing before the game.

 

AL:

Yeah definitely. Kevvie Walters has done a great job the last few years. Mal (Meninga) started it, where he brought ex-players in that have been involved in Origin and know what it's all about.

 

MC:

You've won everything there is to win, what is the proudest achievement that you hold in your remarkable sporting career?

 

AL:

I think the recent statue they put at Suncorp Stadium. It is amazing. It is a pay-off for everything you have given to rugby league and the community. It's out there for my kids and my grandkids to see in the future. I owe that all to my junior coaches, all my school teachers and everyone who was involved with me to get me where I am today.

 

MC:

You've been immortalised and there's not many human beings that can say that. When that idea was first floated with you, what did you think about it?

 

AL:

I was pretty embarrassed to tell you the truth. But on the day, it was marvellous. The great Wally Lewis was the compere and having my mum and wife and all my family there to see that day happen, it was pretty special.

 

MC:

Alfie, of all the questions I got from people to ask you, the number-one question was, 'Is it life size?' Is the statue your actual height?

 

AL:

Well I think I towered over it, so I don't think it actually is life-size because I've grown over the last number of years, so I think the sculptor might have got it wrong.

 

MC:

They tried to save some money did they?

 

AL:

Yeah, well they used all the off-cuts from the other blokes apparently.

 

 

 

Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni unveiled the statue of Queensland rugby league legend Allan Alfie Langer at Suncorp Stadium Northern Plaza. Pics Adam Head
Allan 'Alfie' Langer with his statue at Suncorp Stadium Northern Plaza. Adam Head

 

MC:

Any person I've chatted to who knows you says you're the ultimate jokester. What's the funniest thing you have done to one of your former teammates?

 

AL:

Well, rugby league is about having a good time. There is a time to be serious, but we all like to enjoy ourselves. One of the best jokes I've played was on Kevvie Walters. He was one of my roomies. I knew he was going on to do a Footy Show stint. He had to go on the Footy Show, so I hid his false teeth, so watching him panic for an hour-and-a-half was great to see.

 

MC:

He must've known you were in some way involved.

 

AL:

Yeah, he did. But it was fun to play the hot and cold game for an-hour-and-a-half.

 

MC:

You spent many years being coached and as a friend of Wayne Bennett. You guys are still really close?

 

AL:

Yeah definitely mate, we are still good friends. He started coaching me when I was in the Queensland Under 18s. I still admit he is the best coach and a great mentor and a great mate. I talk to him a couple of times a week. I think he is an amazing person and he just knows how to treat these young guys and their families as well.

 

MC:

That leads me to another question, whenever there is a team that is not doing well it always seems to be the coach that's the scapegoat. Is that a fair thing that happens?

 

AL:

Yeah, that's why I'm a water boy. A coach always gets a lot of the blame. It is a tough job these days. I've never wanted to be a coach.

 

MC:

It's never motivated you?

 

AL:

Never has. I've been involved in a team sport all my life, but I've never had to be controversial and I just want to be part of the team and I just want to win at the end of the day.

 

MC:

What is Allan Langer's best Wayne Bennett story?

 

AL:

He rang me one Saturday morning when I was playing in the UK, and he said how did I feel about coming back for the third State of Origin game. I said, 'What took you so long to ask'.

 

MC:

Did you honestly expect that call?

 

AL:

No, I didn't at all. That's just the cheekiness I've got in myself. But that was the best week of my life. It honestly was.

 

MC:

What would Allan Langer say to that 17-year-old who first started playing professional sport?

 

AL:

I think it's about enjoying yourself and respecting your elders. But it doesn't come easy, you've got to work hard for it, you've got to do all your training.

 

MC:

Any regrets?

 

AL:

No, I don't mate. I enjoyed every part of my career and had a good time. Probably the night I danced on the tables in my underwear, I'd take that back. Actually, I wouldn't. I'd take the drink-driving back. I'd still dance on the tables.