OF ALL THE LEGENDARY Saints, none is more revered than Norm Provan. The man known as 'Sticks' played 256 first-grade games for St George between 1951 and 1965, and was part of 10 grand final winning sides, the first 10 of the winning streak (1956–65). He was captain-coach from 1962 to 1965.
In 1994, Provan explained to Never Before, Never Again author Larry Writer what he believed the legacy of the 11 premierships should mean to the Dragons of future generations ...
‘The quietest time in any dressing room is the ten minutes before kickoff. This is when you come to terms with what’s expected of you out on the field, what you must achieve for yourself and your teammates. It’s a personal and very private time. The Saints players used this time in their own ways. Some, like Langlands and Wilson, would be dry retching with nerves. Others would be lost in thought. Others paced ...
‘I always thought it was stupid when I heard Saints coaches of the ’80s and ’90s say that the deeds of the St George premiership-winning sides put unfair pressure on their teams to succeed. I say these coaches didn’t use the great tradition enough. That winning tradition should be a very strong attraction to young players. Saints’ tradition in the ’50s and ’60s attracted players from everywhere to trial with us and be a part of it.
‘That tradition shouldn’t be killed.
‘You’ve only got to put the film up and see how Billy Smith could put a player through a gap, and how Raper could go all day, and the speed and acceleration of Gasnier. You’ve only got to look in the record books and see what we achieved. I guess those [latter-day] coaches just wanted to be judged on their own merits, on what they accomplished on their own.’