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Cowboys cut Bowen from NRL ranks

The agonising call to cut favourite son Matt Bowen has finally been made by North Queensland but a huge decision still looms for the Cowboys veteran.
Cowboys cut Bowen from NRL ranks
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Aug 30 AAP - The agonising call to cut favourite son Matt Bowen has finally been made by North Queensland but a huge decision still looms for the Cowboys veteran.

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

However, he reluctantly backed the call to end the injury-plagued fullback's 13-year tenure at the NRL club at the end of the season.

Yet the 31-year-old Bowen still has some big decisions ahead of him after "a couple" of English Super League clubs left the door open for the electric No.1 to extend his career overseas.

A Cowboys office job is on the table for North Queensland games record-holder Bowen but the livewire fullback admitted it was tempting to break his golden "one club player" rule and take his young family to England for one final season.

Bowen cheekily described England as "freezing" when asked about the first and last time he had visited during Australia's 2004 Tri-Nations series but stressed he would make a final call on his playing future in coming days.

"I have always wanted to be a one club player. I obviously love the Cowboys," Bowen said.

"I am not going to play for any other NRL club so I am looking at a couple of offers overseas.

"But in saying that, there is work here post-footy so we will see what happens."

Persistent knee problems had plagued Bowen, yet the veteran could still not see the writing on the wall ahead of his very public tap on the shoulder on Friday.

"It was hard getting told I was not going to be here next year," he said.

"I was lucky enough to play here 13 years with the club that I love.

"I have always loved putting on the Cowboys jersey and it is going to be hard not coming back to training and not doing the pre-season with the boys.

"I will definitely miss it. But I am not going to scream and shout about the decision they have made."

Bowen made his NRL debut in 2001 and has played 267 games for the Cowboys - making him the club's games record-holder and one of only four life members.

He has also featured in 10 State of Origin matches for Queensland and a single Test for Australia during his 2004 England tour.

Parr hoped Cowboys fans understood the "complex, difficult, emotional" decision to cut Bowen.

"No one wanted the day to come where Matthew didn't wear the No.1 jersey for the Cowboys," he said.

However, Bowen might yet have another chapter to write in his already inspirational tale.

Bowen looms as the key to North Queensland winning their last two NRL games and squeaking into the top eight despite coach Neil Henry being told his services won't be required at the end of the season.




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