Rugby League immortal Graeme ‘Changa’ Langlands and Australian boxing legend Johnny Lewis were welcomed to Coolum Surf Club by close to 150 people for a special lunch recently.
The two legends of Australian sport recounted their sporting career trials and triumphs during a sportsmen’s lunch at the Surf Club, with the always entertaining Benny Pike as MC.
Johnny Lewis is best known for his work training six boxing world champions including Kostya Tszyu, Jeff Fenech, Jeff Harding, Gairy St. Clair, Virgil Hill and Paul Briggs.
He served as coach for the Australian boxing teams during the 1989 world championship and 1990 Commonwealth Games and also spent the early part of the 1990s as trainer for Australian rugby league teams.
In 2006 Johnny was inducted into the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame, the same year he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to boxing and rugby league in the Australia Day honours list.
Graeme ‘Changa’ Langlands is a legend of the NRL code and is recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
A former St George fullback, Langlands was the last of the captain coaches and respected by everyone who played with him, and against him.
By the time Changa retired, he had racked up an impressive career as the most capped player for the Australian national team with 45 from 1963 to 1975, and captained his country in 15 test matches and world cup games.
He is also one of seven members of the Rugby League Immortals group and believes that retiring Broncos Captain Darren Lockyer deserves to be inducted into the exclusive club.
But baulked when asked about claims that Melbourne fullback and Dally M Player of the year Billy Slater had surpassed Langlands and Clive Churchill as the game’s best ever No.1.
“Billy Slater’s a terrific player, he’s a good player under today’s rules, but I don’t know how he go under the old rules,” Changa said.
“If you go back to St George in the early days, to me those games were a lot tougher than what they are now. These days, you can’t touch the fullback until he’s touched the ball. In the old days you’d just get creamed straight away.”
Coolum Beach Surf Club president Peter Hopley credited manager Peter Law for organising the entertaining afternoon, saying the day was a great success.
“A sincere thanks also to the other surf clubs and community for supporting the lunch. It was great to hear Change speak so highly of his old friend and supporter’s club secretary Ray Carney,” Mr Hopley said.
“The occasion was a good opportunity to present our surf girl, Kate Norman to the community and help raise funds for her. The proceeds will help our club to keep up with the demand of keeping modern life saving equipment on the beach.”
Both Graeme Langlands and Johnny Lewis, who are old friends, stayed at Element on Coolum resort with Johnny Lewis taking the opportunity to catch up with long-time associates and resort owners, Geoff and Tamara Hussin – who are also Gold Surf Club sponsors. The day was also supported by members of the Mooloolaba Surf Club, with surf sports great Hayden Kenny winning a pair of signed boxing gloves, courtesy of Johnny Lewis.