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Rugby league in mourning as legend Provan dies

Provan (left) and Arthur Summons re-create their iconic Gladiators picture. Picture: AAP

Dragons legend Norm ‘Sticks’ Provan has handed away aged 89.

The Dragons and NRL have confirmed rugby league’s thirteenth Immortal and figurehead of St George’s unprecedented 11-year reign as NSW premiers between 1956 and 1966 died on Wednesday night time.

The NRL and Dragons will launch a press release on Thursday paying tribute to one of many best gamers in rugby league’s 113-year historical past.

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Provan is already immortalised in bronze as a part of NRL grand final trophy alongside Arthur Summons — with the historic image dubbed “the gladiators”, from {a photograph} captured in the SCG mud after the 1963 grand last, that was initially the centrepiece of the Winfield Cup crown.

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Provan and Arthur Summons in the Gladiators shot.
Provan and Arthur Summons in the Gladiators shot.
Provan celebrates the 1965 premiership win. Picture: Supplied
Provan celebrates the 1965 premiership win. Picture: Supplied

But in many pundits’ eyes, he was the cornerstone of St George’s file breaking 11 straight premierships and will have had his immortality in a enjoying sense granted sooner having been missed for Immortal standing since its inception in 1981.

He was lastly added to the NRL’s Immortals in 2018.

Provan’s profession will arguably by no means be matched. He performed in 10 of St George’s premierships — 4 of them as captain/coach – in an Australian rugby league file.

“We’ve always looked up to dad. He’s always been immortal to us,” Provan’s daughter Sue McCleod mentioned in accepting his Immortals induction in 2018.

“To have him receive this, especially now, means an awful lot to all of us – and to him.

“He hasn’t been very well so he hasn’t been able to come down today for this.”

Provan (left) and Arthur Summons re-create their iconic Gladiators image. Picture: AAP
Provan (left) and Arthur Summons re-create their iconic Gladiators picture. Picture: AAP

Nicknamed ‘Sticks’, Provan was born in Urana earlier than enjoying his junior rugby league in the Sutherland Shire space. After being rejected by Eastern Suburbs, Provan joined St George and made his prime grade debut in 1952.

He minimize an imposing determine standing at 193 centimetres and weighing 99 kilograms. The second-rower performed 256 prime grade video games for the Dragons — a file which stood till 2012.

Arguably the sport’s best coach Wayne Bennett — additionally an Immortal judge- mentioned Provan’s achievements have been with out peer.

“I don’t know anybody in the game who did more than Norm Provan,” Bennett mentioned earlier this 12 months.

“He was part of 10 premierships … we all fight hard to win one and he won 10.

“Our NRL premiership (the Provan-Summons trophy) is named after him.

“He played for Australia and went on to coach and he is an outstanding man. He was a superstar of his era. He epitomises what the game is about.”

Provan was an imposing figure on the field - and an inspiration one off it.
Provan was an imposing determine on the sector – and an inspiration one off it.

Provan performed in grand finals from 1956-65 earlier than retiring. He featured in 18 Tests for Australia and 20 video games for NSW.

Provan was named in the second-row in the staff of the century.

“If I drop dead tomorrow I will always be happy with the life rugby league has given me,” Provan mentioned in 2013.

After retirement he coached St George for one season, earlier than happening to teach Cronulla and Parramatta. He is a member of the NSW Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and Sport Australia corridor of fames whereas there’s the Provan-Summons medal named in his honour.

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