Sport world reacts as Norm Provan dies at the age of 88
Tributes have begun to flow for rugby league Immortal Norm Provan after he died at the age of 89.
Immortalised on the NRL premiership trophy with Arthur Summons, Provan was one of St George’s greatest players, representing the Red V in a club record 284 games after his debut in 1951.
The lanky back-rower was pivotal in St George’s unprecedented 11-year reign as NSWRL premiers between 1956 and 1966.
He played in the first 10 of their record run of 11 premiership victories and made 30 finals appearances for the club over 15 consecutive seasons.
His appearance in 10 grand finals is an Australian rugby league record.
Provan was inducted as the 13th Immortal in 2018. He played 19 games for NSW and 14 Tests for Australia.
Fellow Immortal Wally Lewis hailed Provan’s selflessness.
“I had the thrill of catching up with him in recent years on the Sunshine Coast,” Lewis told Channel 9.
“He was one of those guys that no matter who had a photograph requested to be taken, he’d always smile upon them and say ‘yep’.
“He was quite remarkable.
“His respect in rugby league cannot be questioned.”
Former Dragons hard man Ashton Sims paid tribute to Provan as a “warrior”.
“The warrior. The immortal. The legend. Vale Norm Provan, I met Norm in 2003 on the Sunshine Coast & you wouldn’t meet a truer gentleman. I’ll never forget shaking your hand & to this day, it’s the biggest hand I’ve ever shaken!! Will be missed”,” he posted on Twitter.
Provan and Summons will forever sit atop the NRL premiership trophy, with the two figures embracing, caked in SCG mud, after the 1963 grand final.
In four of the 10 grand finals Provan played in, he was captain/coach.
After retiring from playing he went on to coach. Provan was a non-playing coach for St George for a season in 1968 and with Parramatta for a single season in 1975
Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand hailed the rugby league legend, labelling him a “gladiator”.
“Norm Provan was one of Australia’s greatest,” Bertrand said in a statement. “An influence on rugby league and loved by all.
“Norm was rugby league’s 13th Immortal, the figurehead of St George’s unprecedented 11-year reign as NSW premiers between 1956 and 1966, member of the NSW Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and Sport Australia hall of fames, while there is the Provan-Summons medal named in his honour.
“Norm’s career will arguably never be matched. He played in 10 of St George’s premierships — four of them as captain/coach — in an Australian rugby league record.
“We are mourning a great loss and our deepest condolences are with Norm’s family and the entire rugby league community.
“A gladiator, an Immortal and deeply missed by all.”
Originally published as Sport world reacts as Norm Provan dies at the age of 88
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