Allan Langer has been dubbed the secret to Brisbane’s quest for a premiership by Kevin Walters, in the wake of Wayne Bennett‘s surprising attempt to poach the Broncos legend for the Dolphins. Walters has given high praise to Langer, calling him Brisbane’s ultimate X-factor, as they gear up for the 2023 finals season, facing either the Storm or Warriors. They’re hoping to make history by ending a 17-year championship drought.
Langer’s influence as Walters’ assistant is undeniably significant, to the point where Bennett, the original coach of Brisbane, attempted to coax him from Red Hill to Redcliffe to bring about a winning culture at the Dolphins, the fresh franchise. However, Walters assures that the iconic 258-game halfback is staying put. Langer has been pivotal in coaching Adam Reynolds, the team captain, and Brisbane’s up-and-coming talent, aiming to lead the Broncos to their first premiership victory since 2006.
“The way out for ‘Alf’ is on his own terms,” said Walters, reflecting on Brisbane’s first finals participation since 2019. His great impact on the club since his retirement is often overlooked by many others, Walters added. “Having Alf on board is a real boon. The fact that he is a true Bronco enhances his significance.”
According to Walters, his presence among the players is inspiring and, most crucially, Langer is a victor. His positive influence on the club has been beneficial and his role in their current achievement is truly heartening. The deterioration of the Brisbane club under previous coach Anthony Seibold had left Langer so dismayed he contemplated cutting ties with the Broncos following their last place finish in 2020.
His spirits were lifted, however, upon Walter’s appointment at Red Hill. Walters and Langer were the dynamic duo responsible for Brisbane’s milestone premiership in 1992, and Walter’s comprehension of what makes Brisbane tick reignited Langer’s passion. His mentorship has extended to playmakers such as Reynolds, Ezra Mam and Jock Madden.
Bennett confirmed his unsuccessful attempts to usurp Langer from the Broncos, saying it would have been an incredible feat for the Dolphins. His comments were intriguing as he hinted of his approach to Langer, his former star playmaker. Bennett jokingly claimed his efforts resulted in a pay rise for Langer, expressing his unwillingness to see him depart the Broncos.
The coach downplayed the notion of Langer being Brisbane’s symbolic ’14th man’ in their pursuit of a club-record seventh championship. An amused Bennett added that if Langer is indeed the 14th man, he needs to start training harder. Despite this, Bennett expressed his deep-rooted respect and admiration for Langer, emphasizing his integral role in the Broncos‘ legacy.
Walters remains hopeful that their recent defeat won’t deter Brisbane’s strong lead heading into the first week of finals against the Melbourne Storm or the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane’s shot at their first minor premiership in over two decades by outmatching the Storm hangs in the balance should Penrith overcome the Cowboys this Saturday. If this eventuality happens, the Panthers will clinch the JJ Giltinan Shield by percentages.