The junior rugby league tournament that honours the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ all-time games record holder has attracted 10 teams for its inaugural staging this weekend.
The Matthew Bowen Sevens will be contested at Abergowrie College and the Ingham Showgrounds on Saturday, showcasing the best schoolboy talent in the region and possibly unearthing another young footballer to follow the path taken by one of the Cowboys’ favourite players.
Bowen was first spotted by the Cowboys when he was playing in a junior carnival while at Abergowrie College, north-west of Ingham.
The diminutive fullback went on to become a Test and State of Origin representative and played 270 NRL matches for North Queensland after making his debut at the start of the 2001 season.
He also holds the record for most NRL tries for the club with 130, a massive 45 more than the next best Cowboy.
Taking part in the inaugural Matthew Bowen Sevens will be two teams from Matthew’s former school as well as Kirwan State High School (Townsville) and one each from Ignatius Park College (Townsville), Ryan Catholic College (Townsville), Columba Catholic College (Charters Towers), Ingham State High School, Shalom Christian College (Townsville) and Gilroy Santa Maria College (Ingham).
“It’s going to be a special day of football,” tournament director Aaron Payne said.
“I don’t think there is anyone in North Queensland who wasn’t a fan of Matty Bowen and the way he played football and conducted himself on and off the field.
“I was always proud to be his teammate and very proud we can stage a carnival like this in his honour.”
The 10 teams will play a round-robin, seven-a-side competition at Abergowrie College from 11am to 3pm on Saturday to decide the final four teams, who will then fight out the finals at the Ingham Showgrounds later in the evening.
The final will be played during the half-time break of a pre-season clash between the NYC Cowboys and the reigning TDRL premiers, the Herbert River Crushers, which kicks off at 6pm.