Yet Langer momentarily had to pause and regain his composure when he saluted his late father Harry as he thanked his family before the statue was unveiled by former teammate Lewis.
“Growing up in Ipswich I was lucky enough to get a run in Origin and the (Brisbane) club I love – it’s been a special career,” Langer said.
“I owe it all to the people who helped me along the way.
“I played rugby league since I was five years old so to have this day at 52 is pretty special – I am still pinching myself.”
Langer hoped his statue unveiling was a good omen before Queensland host NSW in the State of Origin series opener on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium.
“This is Maroons territory, and I hope the statue will help create an intimidating atmosphere for Blues players and create a space for Queensland fans to cheer on the best team in the country,” said Langer, who is now part of the Maroons support staff.
The Queensland government confirmed Langer would receive a statue in an announcement last July ahead of the Origin III clash which the Maroons won 18-12.
“Alfie conquered every challenge in the rugby league world, and it’s great his impressive career and contribution to Queensland is being recognised,” former Brisbane and Queensland teammate Gene Miles said.
“He proved time and time again that size doesn’t matter, that a small player can not only succeed but go on to reach the very highest level in the game.”