The NRL is in mourning today after news broke rugby league Immortal Norm Provan has passed away. He was 88.
The St George legend played in 10 of the Dragons’ extraordinary 11 consecutive premierships, including the last four as captain-coach – both Australian records unlikely to be broken anytime soon.
Provan had been battling dementia for a number of years.
His name is forever immortalised as part of the Provan-Summons Trophy awarded to the NRL premiers, with the photograph of the pair following the 1963 grand final, known as ‘The Gladiators’ one of the sport’s most enduring.
Provan played 256 games for the Dragons during their era of dominance between 1951 to 1965, a club record that stood for nearly 50 years. His status as one of rugby league’s greatest second-rowers was secured when he was named the game’s 13th Immortal in 2018.
Three years earlier in 2015, he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Named in the second-row in the Australian rugby league team of the century, Provan also featured in 18 Tests for Australia and earned 20 representative jumpers for NSW.
Tributes are pouring in for the man affectionately known as ‘Sticks’, described as a ‘gentle giant’ in the often brutal world of rugby league.
A giant of the game, forever an Immortal.
Vale Norm Provan. pic.twitter.com/kRNz3tZoH8
— Sydney Roosters ???? (@sydneyroosters) October 13, 2021
— Yvonne O’Keefe (@VonOKeefe) October 13, 2021
In a decade between 1956 and 1965 Norm Provan played in just 23 losses in the Premiership.
Only 2 of them by more than 18 points
He didn't play in a loss at Kogarah in that period!
— Aaron Wallace (@wallyscr) October 13, 2021
Heartbreaking day for rugby league. A gentle giant. Vale Norm “Sticks” Provan.
— David Riccio (@DaveRic1) October 13, 2021
Vale, Norm Provan. The rugby league great – and one of the two players, with the late Arthur Summons – featured on the #NRL trophy, has died overnight. A lovely man.
Details in @SMH to come.
— ???? Peter FitzSimons???? (@Peter_Fitz) October 13, 2021
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 #RIPNormProvan ???? pic.twitter.com/nZMo0tbKus
— Ashton Sims (@ashtonsims26) October 13, 2021
Provan’s passing continues a year marked by the loss of a number of the game’s greats, including fellow Immortal Bob Fulton in May and the beloved Tommy Raudonikis in April. Summons, to whom Provan’s name will be eternally linked, passed away in May 2020.
“I’m very, very proud,” Provan said in 2015 of the use of his and Summons’ iconic photograph as the basis for the premiership trophy in their name.
“No matter we’re only made out of brass… it’s been a big part of my life and of Arthur’s.”
Earlier this year, legendary coach Wayne Bennett paid the ultimate tribute to Provan’s standing in the game.
““I don’t know anybody in the game who did more than Norm Provan,” Bennett sai.
“He was part of 10 premierships … we all fight hard to win one and he won 10.
“He was a superstar of his era… he epitomises what the game is about.”