Batt to the future

From left, Rod and Greg Batt were all smiles at Lang Lang’s first-ever home game at Soldiers Road. 233316

By David Nagel

Lang Lang legends Greg and Rod Batt played in an era where it was important to be ruthless and show very little emotion on the football field.

It was almost a case of hit-or-bit-hit in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the Batt brothers plied their trade for their beloved Tigers.

Showing emotion – well it just wasn’t considered the done thing.

But even these two tough guys were hit in the heart on Friday as the Lang Lang Football Club hosted its official function to launch its brand new facility on Soldiers Road.

“There’s no argument about it, there is definitely an emotional feeling about it all and we couldn’t be happier for the club to be honest,” Rod said, standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother, just as they did in their playing days.

“I never thought this day would come to be honest and it’s sensational to be here and see this. The car park is full and you can’t ask for any more than that.”

The Batt name is synonymous with Lang Lang, with Fred Batt awarded life membership in 1975 before his son Rod received the ultimate recognition in 1988. Rod’s son Kurt is widely regarded as the greatest ever player at the club.

Greg Batt remembers a tough learning experience growing up playing at the Lang Lang showgrounds.

“It was a pretty tough era back then, you learnt the hard way, but we had an older brother who was playing in the seniors and he looked after us pretty well until we learnt to look after ourselves,” Greg said.

“Col Jones, Titch Risdale, they were tough buggers, and Greg Thom showed no mercy for anyone who got in his road. They had our backs but you wouldn’t turn your back on them if you were the opposition, a few of them got up to mischief.

“They looked after us and it was enjoyable, we always felt at home at the football club.”

Greg said he hoped the new facility would have the same impact on potential recruits as it had on him on Friday.

“It might sound funny but seeing this facility and what they’ve got today just makes you want to go out and play football again,” he said.

“Surely it’s going to attract some quality players and make the club as a whole even stronger.”

The Tigers are currently in the midst of one of the longest premiership droughts in Australian football, with their last senior title coming all the way back in 1936. The next premiership promises to be one of the more stunning chapters in the storied history of the region.

“We went close a couple of times but were never quite good enough,” Rod explained.

“I’ve heard guys that have gone before us, parents and old players and the like, and they’ve dreamed that one day we could do it.

“Now I’m in the same boat, hoping my sons could do it – and that’s gone past now – and now they’ll be dreaming of the next generation doing it. It would be a never ending party if it happens and a lot of tears will be shed.”

The Batt’s showing emotion about their football club – that’s now considered the done thing.