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'First class' pathway sets Jensen up

Forward Corey Jensen has credited the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' pathways program with taking him to the cusp of becoming the club’s latest NRL debutant.

Player profile – Corey Jensen
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Jensen, 23, is expected to be unveiled as Cowboy No.264 when the Cowboys are hosted by the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium, Wollongong, on Saturday.

He will join Ethan Lowe, John Asiata and Ben Spina on a four-man bench, after a brilliant start to the Queensland Cup for the Townsville Blackhawks (Cowboys feeder team) earned him a first-grade call-up.

The Bowen product said he was thrilled to be making his debut for the club he grew up loving and supporting, but admitted to slight disappointment after his first stint at the Cowboys ended in 2014.

Jensen graduated from the club’s under-20s system at the end of the 2014 season, but was not offered an NRL squad contract.

The hard-working forward then spent two season bulking up and honing his game with the Blackhawks under former Cowboys staffer Kristian Woolf.

“I was a little disappointed, but didn’t dwell too long on missing out the first time,” Jensen said.

“I concentrated on doing well for the Blackhawks and putting on some size, which I felt I needed to do.”

That hard work paid off with Jensen offered a one-year deal with the Cowboys senior squad for the 2017 season, a chance he has grabbed with both hands.

“I loved being part of the Cowboys under-20s system, and then to play with the Blackhawks as a Cowboys feeder team was terrific because the set-ups are similar and I was familiar with how it all operated,” he said.

“And then when I got an NRL squad contract, I was doubly pleased because the club’s pathways system is first-class and really helped me along each step.”

Now the path will come full circle in the ‘Gong on Saturday as Jensen readies for his top-flight debut, the young tyro having enjoyed a stellar start to the season in the Q-Cup where he has been rated as one of the form forwards of the comp.

“I’m excited and I received lots of messages from family and friends in Bowen when the team came out on Tuesday,” he said.

Jensen will be the fourth player to make a Cowboys debut this year, with new recruits Ben Hampton (Round 1), Shaun Fensom (Round 3) and flying NYC graduate Gideon Gela Mosby (Round 4) all having joined the elite club in 2017.

Saturday's game kicks off at 7.30pm.