Kevin and Allan Langer relive a classic family footy clash. Picture: Chris McCormack
Kevin and Allan Langer relive a classic family footy clash. Picture: Chris McCormack

How Savige saved the Jets; battle of the Langers


SIR George Martin was credited with being the fifth Beatle. The man who gave the Beatles their first music contract and played piano on songs was instrumental in the world hearing and loving the Fab Four from Liverpool.

If the Jets had a fifth Beatle it would be Sandy Savige.

Savige has sacrificed for the Jets and built the Jets from some dark days.

Savige reflected on his role.

"I came on board in 1995. The club wasn't in a good way and some decisions hadn't worked out too well,'' Savige said.

"There was no grant from the QRL in those days so it was do your best and we were on our knees.''

Savige remained chairman until 2015 and at the football club until 2006.

"Twenty years and then I said I had done my time and was happy to be a naming rights sponsor so now Savige Pest Control are fulfilling that role and I am very happy with that involvement,'' he said.

"We made some changes, like going back to the North Ipswich Reserve from Briggs Road and the Leagues Club development which was the old Hotel Cecil."

Savige used all his business acumen and problem solving nous to get the Jets back from the brink and bring the Jets prosperity.


Ipswich Jets sponsor and former chairman Sandy Savige at the club's season launch. Picture: Erika Myer
Ipswich Jets sponsor and former chairman Sandy Savige at the club's season launch. Picture: Erika Myer

Current Jets chairman Steven Johnson said the role of the Savige family was unquestionable.

"It's simple. The Jets do not exist as a club if the Savige family don't selflessly take up the fight,'' Johnson said.

"Sandy and Carmel are a proud Ipswich family and they wouldn't just sit by and watch the Jets fall down.

"What a great example to our young men they are. You can't sit back and do nothing and then say wish Ipswich had a football team."

Johnson marvelled at the time and effort required to be chairmen of both and volunteer your time.

"Sandy was chairman of both clubs and CEO of the Football club, a massive job and drain on his family and his business,'' Johnson said.

"The QRL introduced a grant of $40,000 that had to be used to create the role of CEO and make it more professional.

"Sandy selflessly used the $40,000 to pay players and did the CEO role for free.

"Sandy would never admit it but he had a young family and a business and the time spent chairing the Jets football club and leagues club would have detracted from both of those very important parts of his life.

"I only chair the football club and I can't imagine the time to do both."

Savige remembered the players that have bought him pleasure in his time at the Jets.

"Danny Coburn was my favourite. What a great Jet, and Danny's son Tyler is playing now.

"That's brought me a lot of joy I remember Coburn was keen to go to baseball and I convinced him to say at the Jets."

The unforgettable 2015 finale is a highlight.

"It was the greatest two days, both here in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final at Lang Park and then in Sydney a week later against Newcastle,'' Savige said.

"The Jets have brought me a lot of joy so I consider us pretty even."

Ferrett Street Cup

THE headline screamed 'Lang Park Langers' in 1986. Kevin Langer v Allan Langer at Lang Park.

It was the Ipswich Jets v Wests Panthers and the two brothers clashed for the first time in round two of the State League doubling as a BRL round match.

The Jets, coming off a 32-26 win over Central Queensland in Dysart, were confident heading into the clash.

The Panthers were coming off an epic two-point loss to the Dolphins at Dolphin Oval.

Allan Langer was only 19 and playing his first year of BRL.

The Queensland league world was starting to take notice of the Jets number seven. In 12 months, he would be the Queensland Origin half.

Kevin Langer had departed the Jets for Wests Panthers in 1983. Langer would play eight years at Panthers; winning the Rothmans Medal in 1988 and going within two points of winning the prestigious award again in 1989.



Kevin remembered the first clash of the Langers.

"I was the older brother and the king of the Langers,'' Kevin said. "Allan was trying to take my crown but the game didn't go to plan.

"He got me twice that year and once in 1987. I had never been injured before but I got injured in that game after 12 minutes and injured in the second game too.

"He was man of the match that hurt more than the injury."

It was a night of firsts for the Jets. Their first win at Lang Park, first win in the BRL after four wins in the State League and the first time the Jets had won two games in a row.

Alfie cheekily reminisced.

"I am pretty sure Kevvie faked that injury to avoid my defence," he said.

"Kevin had played for the Jets and left for Wests. He was such a good player and I knew he'd have some tricks up his sleeve for me."

While Kevin wasn't in the game long enough to use his trickery Alf had some magic of his own for the Panthers and his older brother.

The younger Langer was displaying all the skills that we would come to love in future years. Setting up a try for Brett Walters and then following it up with a 40m run before passing to Ray Kelly who found Shane McCarthy and Errol Hunter was over in the corner.

Langer then scored his own try to claim complete bragging rights at the Langer kitchen table with the 21-12 win over Wests.

Alf was about to cash in on his win.

"I was still at home then so I probably got my favourite cereal that week and Kevin got toast with no butter,'' he said.

Ipswich would defeat the Panthers 26-16 at Lang Park in round 13 in the return game for 1986.

The Jets were in trouble down 16-4 at half time before Pat Shepherdson scored three tries to get the Jets back and Alf have his second win over big brother.

The battle continued the following year in 1987 when the Woolies pre-season came around and in round three Alf would get the cash again 30-8 with both Langers scoring a try and the Jets running in six tries with Ken Robertson scoring four of them on the back of Alf's crisp service.

Tommy declared the Langer battle "No comparison."

"I was a lot more confident by 1987,'' Alf said.

"I had that first year out of the way and was playing some good football in the Brisbane comp.

"That's all we wanted to do. Play for Ipswich and show we weren't Brisbane's little brother. We had a good crew and Tommy was in charge."

Cooper's stat

VALLEYS first trip to Ipswich was in 1982, a round two State League clash at the North Ipswich Reserve. Valleys won 25-2.

Valleys 25 (tries to Mark Murray, Al McInnes, Scott Czislowski, All Mills, Brad Puckeridge tries Mick Neill five goals) def Ipswich 2 (Goal Trevor Wendt).

With 51 handling errors, it wasn't an inspiring Friday night at the football.

Ipswich-bred Al McInnes put in what was described as a non-stop performance for Valleys and Ipswich have some promising players like Kevin Langer, Brett Walters and Gary Coyne.

The three points went the way of Mark Murray, McInnes two and Bryan Niebling one.