Norm Provan has finally been acknowledge as one of rugby league’s Immortals.
The St George legend was one of 10 players shortlisted to become the next rugby league Immortal.
The NRL named Provan alongside Dally Messenger, Frank Burge, Dave Brown, Brian Bevan, Duncan Hall, Ken Irvine, Ron Coote, Mal Meninga and Darren Lockyer in June as players in the running for the honour.
And on Wednesday night, Provan’s name was finally called.
St George graded Provan in 1950 where he went on to play 15 first-grade seasons with the Dragons, playing in 10 winning grand finals including his last four as captain-coach.
Provan played 18 Tests and 27 games for NSW and also coached St George to a preliminary final in 1968 before a season with Parramatta. He also coached Cronulla for two seasons, including the 1978 grand final loss to Manly.
Provan and Mal Meninga were selected as two post World War II players.
The pair joined three pre-war players, Dally Messenger, Dave Brown and Frank Burge, as Immortals.
“The judges took the view that this was a one-off opportunity to recognise the past, to recognise three players from the pre-war era who became legends of the game,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
“If the panel did not take this step we could have lost our chance to include these champion players among our Immortals.
“It was an opportunity the game could not afford to miss and the Immortals now reflect the full history of rugby league from 1908 to the present.”
Greenberg praised the stand taken by the selection panel which also included Immortals Wally Lewis, Bob Fulton and Andrew Johns as well as Wayne Bennett, Phil Gould, Ray Warren, Steve Crawley and former Rugby League Week editors Ian Heads and Norm Tasker.
Heads said no one could dispute Provan and Meninga’s credentials.
“Mal captained his club, his state and his country and was one of a kind,” he said.
“While Norm’s role in St George’s wonderful dynasty was immense and quite simply something which will never be repeated.”
Burge played 16 games for St George in 1927. While Kogarah-born Brown was a key figure for Eastern Suburbs in the 1930s.
The latest batch of inductees are the first since Johns in 2012, when he joined Clive Churchill, Fulton, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands, Lewis and Arthur Beetson.
The NRL also formally inducted six players to the NRL Hall of Fame in Petero Civoniceva, Mark Graham, Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies, Ricky Stuart and Gorden Tallis.