East Perth lose premiership star Don Langdon
Don Langdon only played four seasons of league football for East Perth but played in a hat-trick of grand finals in his brief career.
A Shackleton farmer who survived a severe car crash to play 69 league matches, Langdon was a key player with four goals when the Royals beat Subiaco in his first season in 1959.
The rangy centre half-forward was perhaps unlucky not to win the Simpson Medal instead of team-mate Graham Farmer.
East Perth then lost to West Perth and Swan Districts in the next two years before Langdon retired at the end of the 1962 season to return to the farm.
Langdon, who died on Thursday aged 85, was one of the last remaining premiership winners from East Perth’s glory years in the late 1950s. Mal Atwell, Brian Ray and Roy Powell are among those still with us.
Langdon, who was part of Scotch College’s team of the century, was a regular State player during his time in Perth and teamed with Test cricketer Neil Hawke, who made drop punts an essential part of football, in a highly potent East Perth forward line.
Football historian Ron Head interviewed Langdon in 2010 and discovered that he was keen to play at Claremont until East Perth’s most persuasive identities in reigning premiership coach Sheedy and secretary Hec Strempel got to him in 1958.
“I guess the fact that East Perth were the reigning premiers gave them the edge over Claremont, who were struggling, when it came down to tin tacks,” he told Head.
“I wasn’t going to be there for the long haul, so when the sweet talk came from the top side, it was inviting.”
Langdon was a great cricketer who played for the WA country XI against visiting international teams and also made his mark as a talent spotter for the Royals.
But there was one champion who got away.
“I took Sheedy to the country carnival and told him to keep his eye on a young rover from Narembeen,” he told Head.
“The bloke starred, gathering possessions at will.
“Yeah, gets the ball a lot, doesn’t do too much with it,” was Jack’s post-match appraisal of the young player.
History shows that Billy Walker went on to win four Sandover Medals and help Swan Districts beat East Perth in the first leg of their grand final hat-trick.