Almanac Rugby League: Norm ‘Sticks’ Provan


John Campbell has sent us this piece which he painted to celebrate his day at the 1965 NSWRL Grand Final – even though his beloved Bunnies lost. He also penned a few words.



The 1965 Grand Final (oil on canvas,100 x 125 cm) – John Campbell



RIP – the great Norm Provan, aged 88.


Dad took us to the 1965 Grand Final. I was only little, and my little brother Lonno was even littler. As he usually did, Dad got a park near the Langton Clinic (a rehab clinic – not that I would have known what that was) in Surry Hills and we walked across Moore Park to the wonderful old Sydney Cricket Ground. The ground’s capacity was 70,000, but 78,065 footy fans turned up that day to see if Jimmy Lisle’s young Rabbitohs could end the mighty St George Dragons’ run of premierships. ‘Sticks’ Provan was captain/coach of the Saints.


Standing with the mob on the Hill, Lonno and I were soon separated from Dad. We couldn’t see a fucking thing – all I remember from the game was the ball soaring through the air above the heads of the blokes in front of us when Kevin Longbottom kicked a goal. As well as that, we were getting crushed, so Lonno and I left at half-time.


In the painting I did of that day, I took the liberty of putting us in the Bob Stand.


Lisle, Provan and Bob Moses are all gone now, as are Dad and Lonno.


It was another world.


Read more Almanac Rugby League HERE




We hope to publish two books in the lead-up to Christmas 2021. The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020  as will the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season (title is up for discussion at the moment!). These books will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers and Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from these two Covid winters. Enquiries  HERE


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  1. Great to revisit this striking artwork of yours, John. Apologies for not thinking of it yesterday.

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