First Cowboy for Nines revealed...
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys games record holder and crowd favourite Matthew Bowen will make his swansong appearance for the club after being named in the club’s team to contest the 2016 NRL Auckland Nines next weekend.
Bowen, 33, retired from the National Rugby League at the end of the 2013 season having played 270 games for the Cowboys.
He went on to play for Wigan for two seasons in the English Super League, helping the team to consecutive grand finals.
He returned with his family to North Queensland this month and has taken up a role at the club as a community engagement officer.
Bowen said he was thrilled to get the chance to be able to run around in his old team colours.
“Johnno (Johnathan Thurston) and a few of the other boys were texting me when I was over in England asking me if I would be keen to play,” Bowen said.
“And I always said that if Greeny (head coach Paul Green) asked me, I would.
“My first day back at the club, he asked me to play in the Nines, and I jumped at the opportunity.”
Bowen said he had been training with the team and was confident his fitness levels would be up to scratch.
The Cowboys will announce the full 18-man Nines squad on Tuesday 2 February before flying to New Zealand the following day.
The Nines will be played on Saturday and Sunday, 6-7 February, with the Cowboys drawn in the Rangitoto Pool alongside the Knights, Panthers and Wests Tigers.