18 May 2020

Farewell to a Gladiator


Arthur Summons embraces St George’s Norm Provan after a mud-soaked and controversial grand final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The image, caught by legendary photographer John O’Gready at the end of the 1963 NSWRL grand final, is the most famous in Australian sport.

‘The Gladiators’ won international photography awards, gave the NRL its premiership trophy, and embodies the mateship that typifies Australian sport and society – even if Summons is complaining to Provan that Wests were robbed by the referee.

It is the most enduring moment in Summons’ famous career that saw him represent Australia in rugby union and rugby league, as well as coaching the Kangaroos to a historic Ashes in on English soil.

Arthur Summons was a life member of the SCG, having been inducted alongside significant rugby league figures at the 2008 Centenary Test.

On Saturday, May 16, Summons died at his home in Wagga Wagga. The Australian flag on the Members Pavilion will be flown at half-mast when Summons is farewelled in a private family ceremony later this week.

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