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Bowen set for UK and Super League?

Life without Matt Bowen has officially begun at North Queensland with ex-Penrith fullback Lachlan Coote's arrival on Thursday.
Bowen set for UK and Super League?
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Sept 19 AAP - Life without Matt Bowen has officially begun at North Queensland with ex-Penrith fullback Lachlan Coote's arrival on Thursday.

But rumours about another No.1 - Wigan star Sam Tomkins - have renewed speculation Bowen will extend his glittering career in England next year.

English reports claim Tomkins this week will finally end months of talk and confirm he has signed a lucrative Warriors NRL deal, meaning Bowen will play with Wigan in 2014.

According to the reports, Wigan asked English international Tomkins to delay announcing his NRL deal until they had secured his replacement Bowen on a one-year contract.

"With North Queensland Cowboys' No.1 Matty Bowen agreeing to a swansong campaign in Super League, they now appear poised to reveal their plans for 2014," a Wigan Today report said.

"Bowen, a firm crowd pleaser for more than a decade in the NRL, is thought to have signed a one-year deal."

Comment was being sought from Bowen's manager Wayne Beavis.

Playing in England's freezing north seemed the last thing on Bowen's mind this week as he spent his final days with Cowboys teammates in north Queensland's sunny Whitsunday islands.

After their NRL finals campaign was cut short by a 20-18 loss, marred by Cronulla's seventh-tackle try last weekend, the Cowboys spent time on North Queensland club chairman Lawrence Lancini's yacht off Airlie Beach.

In one of his final acts as a Cowboy, Bowen drove the team bus for the four-hour trip from Townsville to the idyllic beach town.

Bowen will leave a huge hole at the Cowboys after a 13-year NRL career that produced 267 games - a club record.

North Queensland football manager Peter Parr described the task of filling the ex-Test No.1's shoes would be like "coming in after Bradman".

But Coote said he was excited by the prospect of donning the North Queensland favourite son's No.1 jersey when he toured the club's facilities on Thursday.

"I've got a lot of respect for Matty Bowen. He's done a lot for the game and for the Cowboys as well," said Coote who scored 43 tries in 83 games for Penrith.

"I've watched him play as I've grown up and he's left some fast boots to fill.

"I'm pretty confident that I'll fit in alright. I'm looking forward to it."

Coote will return north for the start of pre-season training in early November.

"I'm hoping that I come out in round one and the fans seem to like me," he said.

"It's a bit nerve-racking coming into a new side and trying to win the fans over.

"I'll just play my game and do what I do best. Hopefully I can provide some excitement."

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