Immortal's 'heroic' act after grand final thuggery

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Many are alert of the unthinkable feat the St George Dragons achieved crossed the 1950s and 1960s, which saw them triumph 11 premierships successful succession to acceptable a grounds that inactive stands today.

But it's not wide known that cardinal to the streak was an enactment of singular bravery from rugby league Immortal Norm Provan during the 1962 expansive final, successful which St George defeated Western Suburbs Magpies 9-6 astatine the SCG.

In the aftermath of Provan's decease astatine the property of 89, rugby league writer Geoff Armstrong has told a communicative successful an interrogation with Wide World of Sports that possibly reflects the bosom of the antheral amended than immoderate other.

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The St George captain-coach would instrumentality to the tract pursuing a sickening first-half clash and assistance the Dragons to the seventh of their consecutive titles successful a heroic idiosyncratic performance.

St George captain-coach Norm Provan was heroic during the Dragons' 1962 expansive last triumph implicit Western Suburbs Magpies. (Fairfax)

"Just earlier half-time, this young second-rower, Jim Cody, who was a spot of a firebrand – he, arsenic the communicative goes, belted Norm Provan down play and knocked Norm Provan out, and Norm had to beryllium helped backmost to the dressing room," said Armstrong, the writer of Spirit of the Red V: A Century of Dragons Rugby League.

"At half-time helium was fundamentally level connected his back, (so) helium couldn't code the team. So Billy Wilson, the Saints' seasoned front-rower, who had played for Australia the erstwhile 2 oregon 3 years – helium had to bash the half-time talk. And the taxable of the half-time speech was, 'We cognize who belted 'Sticks', we're not going to retaliate, we're conscionable going to spell retired there, play good, hard shot and triumph the game'.

"And from the 2nd half, Wests kicked disconnected and Cody's moving down tract and, arsenic the communicative goes, Wilson coat-hangers him and gets himself sent off.

"And St George astatine that constituent are down to 11 players due to the fact that Provan's not connected the field, either.

Gould explains Norm Provan's legacy

"I don't really deliberation Wilson deliberately belted Cody; I deliberation they came unneurotic and whether that was Wilson's responsibility oregon Cody's I'm not sure. Wilson swung an limb implicit and caught Cody connected the jaw and helium went consecutive down and the referee sent him off."

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By Armstrong's story-telling, it was a occurrence that Provan returned to the field.

"Provan past came backmost retired and his caput yet cleared and implicit the past 30 minutes... helium was a heroic figure," Armstrong said.

"St George hung on... and kept their expansive last (winning) streak going.

The NRL premiership trophy was designed successful honour of Norm Provan (left) and Arthur Summons, pictured supra successful rugby league's astir iconic image. (Twitter)

"Norm Provan was heroic that day. He was flattened. Obviously successful 2021 helium would person had a (head wounded assessment) and wouldn't person gone backmost connected the field, but the times were antithetic backmost then. Everyone said helium was severely concussed... There is perfectly nary uncertainty that astatine half-time helium was incapable of addressing the team. The St George doctors spent the full half-time trying to revive him."

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Armstrong besides pointed retired that Provan, successful an denotation of his renowned professionalism, made nary effort to prime a combat with Cody upon his instrumentality to the pitch.

"His full mantra arsenic a manager was astir discipline... and helium was besides truly large astatine mounting an example," Armstrong said.

"He had been the champion trainer astatine the nine for years.

Norm Provan (left) is 1 of 13 rugby league Immortals. (Getty)

"So Provan's behaviour successful the 2nd half, the information helium didn't spell retired to get square, conscionable reflects the information that helium was mounting that example. Even though helium was successful a concussed state, helium was showing that subject that the nine needed to win.

"And helium was a astute capable footballer to cognize that if they did retaliate that was the 1 mode they could get beaten. They were the champion squad successful the comp. They'd been the champion squad successful the comp each year."

Rugby league legends Wally Lewis, Craig Young and Johnny King are among the thousands to person made beauteous tributes to Provan pursuing his death.

Armstrong has followed suit.

"He was rugby league's eventual statesman."

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