Omens good for St George: Dragons legend - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Omens good for St George: Dragons legend

By Ben Horne 02/10/2010 03:06:14 PM Comments (0)

Imposingly tall, thin and in possession of a quick wit, St George Illawarra NRL coach Wayne Bennett these days bears a striking resemblance to 78-year-old Dragons legend Norm "Sticks" Provan.

But are they lookalikes?

"He's not that lucky," drawls Provan.

And while he won't admit to feeling like he's looking in the mirror when he sees Bennett on television, Provan has been a keen observer of the master-coach's body-language leading into Sunday's grand final against the Sydney Roosters.

"I saw him smile the other day, it was twice in the one interview. I think that's a record," Provan said.

"That's a good sign."

Provan can see Bennett is on the job but he and fellow St George great Johnny Raper say they are far from confident the Dragons will topple the Roosters in the decider.

The pair are two of the most famous players to ever pull on the red V, but have warned St George Illawarra to be wary of their in-form opponents.

"I'm not confident that Saints can pull it off, they need to go up a step from their last game," Provan said at a Kangaroos reunion on Saturday.

"I think the Roosters ... I think they've come through playing a really good brand of football.

"If Saints' one point field goal (win) last week had been won by 10-12 points, I'd be a lot more confident.

"Naturally I want Saints to win it, they've got more supporters than any other club so it'd be great for rugby league."

Raper, like Provan, admits to being a critical supporter, but that's just because he's passionate about the red and white jersey.

He says his poor wife has to put up with his over-zealous cheering and even after eight premierships of his own, Raper declared he'll be shattered if the Dragons don't get over the line.

"I'll be devastated, Norm will be devastated and all of us old St George players will, because we know what it's like to lose," Raper said.

"I'm over-passionate if anything else and my wife suffers by the way. I still get very upset about them, but I shouldn't be unkind to them ... I should be more sympathetic towards them.

In regards to his mate "Sticks" and his resemblance to coach Bennett, Raper says he always sarcastically thought of Provan as a male model, "because he'd push me away to do some of my tackles."

And despite his poke on Bennett's looks, Raper said the coach's appearance post match on Sunday will tell a vivid story.

"This game tomorrow will prove one thing about Wayne Bennett," Raper said.

"Whether he's got it or he hasn't got it - because they're not going to give up Eastern Suburbs."

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