Support grows for statue of Alfie to join league greats
ALLAN Langer deserves his own statue outside Suncorp Stadium, according to one of Queensland rugby league's greatest servants.
Mal Meninga, the legendary Queensland coach and player, has supported the idea of immortalising Ipswich's favourite son just weeks after a statue of himself was announced.
"I think it'd be half the price, so I can't see why not," Meninga joked when asked about the proposal.
"I think it'd good. When Locky (Darren Lockyer) was retiring, we tried to get some sort of momentum going for Alfie.
"In all seriousness, he's had a huge impact on Queensland league and Queensland sport."
The Caxton St entrance to Suncorp Stadium is home to statues of Queensland rugby league legends Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson and Darren Lockyer, with Meninga set to soon join them.
It leaves Langer as the highest profile Bronco and Maroon legend still to be honoured outside Queensland's home of rugby league.
Meninga was in Laidley for a Queensland Rugby League coaching session with junior club the Laidley Lions.
He said the program was a great way to encourage kids to play rugby league and build support for the code in traditional heartlands like south-east Queensland.
"It's fantastic to be putting back into the grass roots," he said.
"(The NRL) get unheralded for the amount of work they actually do in regional areas.
"They don't get the recognition for the amount of work they do, but when you go out there you see how important rugby league is in regional communities.
"Laidley has gone through some hardship and rugby league is one of those sports that can unite a community back together again."
He said while he was watching young players with great interest and was sure some had the talent to become professionals, playing junior football was still about having a good time.
"You don't put any pressure on kids as long as they're enjoying it and having fun," Meninga said.
"From my perspective, maybe one kid here might be a potential Broncos player or a Queensland player or an Australian player."
Meninga said towns like Laidley would be the beneficiaries of the expansion of the NRL into the Western Corridor.
"It's a great growth corridor, Ipswich, and I can't see any reason why we can't have a second Brisbane team," he said.
But he said smarter minds than his would make those decisions.