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Summons hails Provan’s Immortals entry

Norm Provan (left) was named a rugby league Immortal in Sydney on Wednesday night.Norm Provan wouldn’t say it himself as he watched Wednesday night’s rugby league Immortals ceremony from home, but those closest to the 85-year-old will say it for him.
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It’s about time.

Overlooked for so long, Provan was inducted as the latest member of rugby league’s most elite group on Wednesday night, alongside Mal Meninga, Dally Messenger, Frank Burge and Dave Brown.

There, he joined former St George teammates John Raper, and the late Reg Gasnier and Graeme Langlands.

And as a club player, Provan the most successful of them all.

The rangy second-rower won a record 10 premierships with the Dragons, including the final five of those as captain coach.

He also played 18 Tests for Australia and 25 games for NSW in a career that spanned 15 seasons.

Spinal issues from a fall a few years ago has stopped him from travelling down to Sydney from Queensland for events in recent years, but his image carries on in the game.

He and Western Suburbs captain Arthur Summons’ embrace after the 1963 grand final remains the most famous photo in rugby league and on the trophy all teams play for at the end of the season.

Summons was also unable to be at the SCG on Wednesday night, but the pair remain close and talk regularly.

“It’s long overdue,” Summons said of his old mate’s elevation.

“To be a part of 10 grand final wins, and captain-coach in four of them is amazing.

“You can’t even win them back-to-back these days. They were a great club side. he was a player of great stature, and he certainly warrants inclusion in the Immortals.

“I’ve been blessed in life to have an association and a friendship with him … I’m sorry I can’t be there tonight to share this with Norm’s family but I am so happy for him.”

And Provan’s family couldn’t disagree.

“We just thought it was about time,” Provan’s daughter Sue McCloud said.

“We thought Dad deserved it and we were really happy that he’s got it at this later stage in his life as well.

“He still knows what’s going on. He’s so eager with football he still watches it all the time, but of course with the sound down because he has to commentate.

“He’s always been very humble so it’s never worried him these sort of accolades. but he’s very proud.

“I’ve been on the phone already to my mum and he’s very proud and grateful of the honour he’s received because football was everything.”

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