Main content

Champion Tuesday: Chris Langford

Champion Tuesday: Chris Langford Watch highlights of Hawthorn full-back Chris Langford, as shown on the night of his Hawthorn Hall of Fame induction.

Follow along every Tuesday, as we celebrate Hawthorn champions, past and present...

Arguably the best full back of his era and a key plank in one of the great dynasties Australian football has bared witness to, Chris Langford was nothing short of a champion.

A four-time premiership player, team of the century member and club captain, there was little that Langford failed to achieve.

However one of the most defining moments of his career happened well after the final siren.

As the Hawks found themselves in the throes of the infamous proposed merger with Melbourne in 1996, Langford broke ranks with club policy to make a public stand against the amalgamation.

After claiming a thrilling one-point win over the Demons in their fortuitous final round encounter dubbed the ‘merger game’, Langford walked off the ground holding his jumper aloft to the MCG stands.

The show of strength and defiance helped bring a supporter base to life in their fight to keep the club in tact – one they would eventually win.

Recruited from Melbourne Grammar, the full back initially began his career playing on the wing.

Making his debut in 1983, Langford suffered heartbreak early on when was he was left out of the ’84 grand final side after playing every game of the season, bar two, including the Hawks’ qualifying and semi finals.

The next year Langford would rebound to feature in the club’s grand final team in which he was named in the ruck, only for the side to go down to Essendon for a second consecutive year.

But in 1986, 193cm Langford succeeded recently retired club legend Peter Knights in defence (whose number 24 he would also take over from 1987), and finally secured the premiership that had so far eluded him, with the Hawks triumphing over Carlton.

Soon earning a reputation as one of the competition’s leading full backs, Langford battled the likes of Lockett, Ablett and Kernahan week in, week out, played a crucial part in the Hawks’ immensely successful ’88, ’89 and ’91 campaigns.  

In 1994 Langford was anointed Hawthorn captain, and received a second All-Australian selection that season after the first came in ’87.

Finishing his career a veteran of 303 games, Langford announced his retirement at the end of 1997.

Catch up: Champion Tuesday - John Barker

Best Performance

23 disposals, 15 marks and 4 goals v Footscray, Round 9 1985

Best Venue

Carrara - played five games, averaged 17.2 disposals

Best opponent

Richmond - met 21 times, averaged 15.33 disposals

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs