Remembering Graeme Langlands
St George Dragons great and rugby league Immortal Graeme Langlands has died in his Sutherland Shire nursing home, aged 76.
The former Kangaroos captain played 45 games for Australia and was a key part of the Dragons' dominant team of the mid-1960s.
The NRL has paid tribute to Langlands with CEO Todd Greenberg describing him as one of the finest players to take the field as he passed on his condolences to his family and friends.
"There are only eight immortals and Graeme is one of them... that says it all," Greenberg said.
"He was such a dominant player in his era ... so many fans would remember growing up watching Changa at his best.
"It is a sad loss for the rugby league community and especially for those closest to him."
Greenberg said Langlands had done everything in the game, leading his nation 15 times during his 227-game career for the St George Dragons.
Greenberg said Langlands had been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame. He was also named among Australia's 100 Greatest Rugby League players.
"Although Graeme suffered ill health in recent years, he was always a key part of the rugby league community and will be missed," Greenberg said.
Langlands won his first premiership with St George in 1963, playing fullback, and starred for Australia in that year's Kangaroos tour at centre alongside Reg Gasnier. He won further premierships with the club in 1964, 1965 and 1966.
He captained the Dragons from 1970 to 1976, and led Australia from 1970 to 1975.
Langlands was named rugby league's fifth "Immortal" in 1999, with Wally Lewis named the sixth at the time.
In recent months Langlands had battled dementia and alzheimers and was unable face court on charges of indecent dealing with a girl under 16 over allegations stemming back to the 1980s.
A St George Illawarra statement said the club was "deeply saddened" by his death.
"Following a long battle with illness, the four-time grand final winning fullback passed away in his sleep on Saturday evening.
"Born in Wollongong, Langlands first came into rugby league reckoning upon being selected for the NSW Country Firsts and subsequently NSW firsts thereafter in 1962.
Joining the Dragons in 1963, Changa went on to play 227 games across 14 seasons, and to this day is the most prolific pointscorer in the club's history (1554 points – 86 tries, 648 goals).
Langlands also made his debut for Australia in 1963 and went on to play 45 Tests – the fourth-most appearances by any player in the Kangaroos' history. So skilful a player, Langlands spent the first four years of his Test career in the centres."
The Langlands family released a statement saying he died peacefully.
''Graeme was in very poor health and suffering from a number of chronic diseases,'' the statement said.
''His family are relieved by the nurse's advice that his passing was peaceful and painless.''
The family said Queensland police's ''egregious prosecution'' of Langlands over allegations he had sexually assaulted a teenage girl in the 1980s worsened their devastation.
''The family maintains its position that this was an improper prosecution and that the allegations are refutable on the evidence in their possession. The family reserve making further comment to a later time.''