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Intrigue over Bowen's Cowboy future

North Queensland star Matt Bowen's uncertain NRL future has become more intriguing after the club elevated rising local fullback Zac Santo on a two-year deal on Monday.
Intrigue over Bowen's Cowboy future
by AAP

By Jim Morton

BRISBANE, Aug 5 AAP - North Queensland star Matt Bowen's uncertain NRL future has become more intriguing after the club elevated rising local fullback Zac Santo on a two-year deal on Monday.

Bowen impressed in Saturday night's 30-12 upset over South Sydney on Saturday night but admits he's unsure whether he wants to play on for a 14th season.

The physical rigours of the competition and the 31-year-old's continued knee problems has put the elusive fullback on the road to retirement.

Contract talks with the club were put on hold last week due to the axing of coach Neil Henry for 2014, but are set to resume this weekend.

While he's also been mentioned as a target for rival clubs, Bowen indicated on Monday that his body would determine his future - a decision that could spark a tussle for his No.1 jumper.

A member of Queensland's Junior Origin squad, Santo was the Cowboys Under-20 player of 2012 and his Holden Cup form has seen him promoted to the senior squad despite an injury-affected season.

The club's games and tries record-holder, Bowen praised the 20-year-old but couldn't confirm he'd assist him in 2014.

"If I'm here next year I'll defintiely be doing that," he said.

"Zaccy's been playing good. He deserves his spot in the Cowboys squad next year."

Santo comes in to the senior squad as another veteran fullback, Clint Greenshields, confirmed he'd retire at season's end.

Like Santo, Bowen's 20-year-old cousin, Javid Bowen, has signed to the NRL squad for 2014 while winger Kalifa Faifai Loa would also be a fullback candidate.

North Queensland also extended the contracts seasoned forwards Glenn Hall and Scott Bolton on Monday as well as youngster Ethan Lowe.

But they have been tempered by the loss of impressive teenager Jayden Hodges, a cousin of Broncos and Test centre Justin, to Manly on a three-year deal.

"Hally and Bolts are the type of no-fuss, hard-working forwards that every club needs and will continue to provide great service to the Cowboys," said football manager Peter Parr.


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