Saints' idol Mal Meninga and St George's Norm Provan have joined legends Dally Messenger, Frank Burge and Dave Brown as the next five NRL rugby league Immortals in a surprise announcement at the Sydney Cricket Ground last night.
Originally set to be a maximum of two players on the 10-man nominees list welcomed into rugby league's most exclusive club, pre-war
pioneers Messenger, Burge and Brown were the first three men named in front of a prestigious crowd of dignitaries. Then later in the festivities Provan and Meninga were announced as the 12th and 13th Immortals respectively.
Messenger, Brown, Burge - pioneers of the premiership's early days in Australia - Provan and Meninga were granted Immortal status by a panel which consisted of current Immortals, Wally Lewis, Bob Fulton and Andrew Johns, along with Broncos' coach Wayne Bennett, Phil Gould, Ray Warren, Steve Crawley and former Rugby League Week editors Ian Heads and Norm Tasker.
Meninga, who spent the 1984-85 season at St Helens and helped the club lift both the Lancashire Cup and the Premiership title, said: ''It is a fantastic feeling and a very humbling experience. I fully understand there are so many players that could be standing in my spot right now.
"It's one of the best things that's happened to me personally. I love the sport and I am very fortunate to still be
involved in it involved in it."
Meninga also revealed the crucial role Wayne Bennett played in putting him on the path to being selected.