Provan looks back to a more entertaining type of footy
NORM Provan, one of the men after whom the NRL premiership trophy is now named, hopes the team that wins it in 2013 plays entertaining football.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Dragons-Wests grand final clash - at the conclusion of which the iconic Gladiator photo was taken - the then St George captain understands that great teams cannot last forever, and all clubs suffer their ups and downs. And today's 3pm SCG clash between these equal second-last teams on the ladder typifies that reality.
"But I would feel more satisfied about my team losing if they threw the ball around, and entertained," he said.
"I must admit I don't watch a lot of rugby league these days because, fundamentally, I find it boring. I can't say I like the modern-day methods of coaching."
Provan, who played in 10 of the 11 successive St George premierships from 1956, has not aimed his criticism at the present Dragons team or coaching staff, but at the modern game in general.
"These continual one-out hit ups are killing the game, and I just can't agree with that type of coaching," he said.
"Teams don't move the ball around like we did in our day. The coaches say it's too risky, but it wouldn't be risky if they train to do it."
While disappointed the Dragons will not play finals football in 2013, the former great says he understands clubs these days cannot retain players like they were able to previously.
"When Saints won our 11 premierships we had virtually the same team every year. The salary cap restrictions today won't allow that to happen anymore," he said.
Some doubt hangs over the final make-up of the Tigers for this afternoon's SCG clash following the decision by the NRL salary cap auditor to permit them to play rising stars Luke Brooks (halfback) and Nathan Brown (prop). Speculation is rife that Brooks may start ahead of Benji Marshall, but the more likely scenario is for the 18-year-old to come off the bench.
In their quest to stay in the top eight, the Titans have been dealt a savage blow with fullback Will Zillman and Greg Bird both being ruled out of the 5.30pm clash with the Warriors at Robina. Anthony Don and Ben Ridge are the replacements.
And in the 7.30pm kick-off in Townsville - another vital match that has a bearing on the make-up of the finals - a decision on the fitness of Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt will not be made until later this morning. If unavailable, he will be replaced by Kalifa Faifai Loa.