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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 15:47 GMT
Little general continues to battle
Allan Langer with a number plate presented to him at a fans day
Allan Langer set to turn out for the Broncos this season
BBC Sport's Tulsen Tollett wonders how long Allan Langer will continue at the highest level.

For Allan Langer, the past 12 months has contained more intrigue and U-turns than your average James Bond classic.

And like the fictional hero, he seems to have clambered through the flames and come out unscathed on the other side.

Turn the clock back to this time last year and Langer was preparing for a successful cup run with the Warrington Wolves, culminating in a semi-final appearance against Bradford.

I'll just wait and see what happens - I haven't really looked that far ahead
Allan Langer
The season seemed to have so much potential in store for a team of under-achievers.

But injury and inconsistency once again took its toll.

Yet when Langer's mentor and friend, Wayne Bennett, asked the 'little general' to lead Queensland in the deciding State of Origin game it proved an irresistible lure.

He led from the front in a 40-14 victory which seemed to pave the way for his final glorious exit from Australian rugby league.

Warrington's season didn't improve upon his return, eventually leading to the premature departure of coach Daryl van de Velde.

Bennett and Langer after Queensland win the decisive State of Origin match
Langer celebrates with mentor Wayne Bennett
Langer picked up an ankle injury and was given permission to return home to Brisbane early.

Everyone waited to hear word of his 'final retirement'.

But that was being rather presumptuous.

Because in mid-March, 'Alfie' will be running out for the Brisbane Broncos.

Ironically, his return will be against the team from which he announced his initial NRL retirement in 1999 - the North Queensland Cowboys.

The obvious question is: Why is he making another comeback?

"I just enjoy playing the game," Langer said.

"Wayne Bennett gave me the opportunity to play here again, and I'm very thankful for that.

"I enjoyed Warrington and there were some very good players there.

"It was a shame we didn't win anything, which would have made it more enjoyable, but I had a great time on and off the pitch."

Allan Langer
Langer is back training with the Brisbane Broncos
It will also provide an opportunity for Langer to take a first hand look at some of the youngsters making a mark in the NRL.

"The Broncos did exceptionally well last year considering the injury situation," he said.

"There is a great chance for us to succeed this year with the young players we have coming through."

And what of representative rugby league this year considering what happened in Brisbane eight months ago?

"I'll just wait and see what happens. I haven't really looked that far ahead."

He may not have looked that far forward, but others have.

See also:

30 Jun 01 |  Rugby League
Maroons take Langer gamble
05 Mar 02 |  Rugby League
Langer may delay retirement date
01 Aug 01 |  Rugby League
Langer leaves Warrington
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