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League immortal Norm Provan, 'gladiator' on NRL trophy, dies at 89


Rugby league Immortal Norm Provan – the man who features on the NRL premiership trophy – has died, aged 89.

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One of the finest second-rowers in the history of the game, Provan won 10 premierships during St George’s golden era between 1956 and 1966.

His image still remains in the game today, as part of the NRL trophy in the gladiators image alongside Western Suburbs rival Arthur Summons.

Summons died last year, with Provan’s death now leaving rugby league without two of its greatest characters and most iconic duo.

After debuting for the Dragons in 1951, Provan scored 63 tries in 256 games for the club and represented Australia in 18 Tests and NSW on 20 occasions.

His perfect record in 10 deciders is matched only by Dragons teammate Brian Clay, with Provan retiring in 1965.

Four of Provan’s titles came as captain-coach, confirming his status as one of the game’s greats.

“We have lost one of the genuine legends of our game,” ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said.

“Norm was revered for his leadership and his courage as a player – but also his incredibly humble, kind and genuine nature as a person.

“Sadly, the game has now lost both of our ‘gladiators’.

“But our Provan-Summons Trophy will live on as an acknowledgement of Norm and his good mate Arthur.

“They will be missed, but always remembered.”

A tall second-rower at 193cm, Provan was born in Urana in the Riverina region before moving to Sydney and playing for Willoughby as a junior.

He later moved to the Sutherland area, setting up his illustrious career with St George after initially being knocked back by Eastern Suburbs.

Provan remains the most capped player in St George’s history, a record he will hold forever after the club’s merger with Illawarra in 1999.

He was named in Australian rugby league’s team of the century in 2008 and was elevated to Immortal status in 2018.

At the time he was unable to attend the ceremony due to his ailing health, with daughter Sue McCloud attending on his behalf.

“We’ve always looked up to dad. He’s always been immortal to us,” McCloud said at the time in accepting his appointment.

“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’s death on Wednesday night comes after a tragic year for the sport, following the deaths of fellow Immortal Bob Fulton and league legend Tommy Raudonikis.



Games: 256

Tries: 63

Premierships: 10, 1956-65 (final four as coach)

Tests: 18

Matches for NSW: 20

NSWRL Player of the Year: 1958

Sun-Herald Best And Fairest: 1954

Clive Churchill Medal: 1957, 1958, 1963

Australian Rugby League Team of the Century: 2008

International Hall of Fame: 2004

NSW Team of the Century: 2008

Named In NRL Team Of The 1950s: 2007

Immortal: 2018

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