The North Queensland Cowboys have honoured their games record holder Matthew Bowen by launching a junior rugby league tournament to be hosted by his former high school.
The Matthew Bowen Sevens will be contested for the first time at Abergowrie College, near Ingham, on Saturday, 15 February and will be open to all secondary schools in North Queensland.
It will be an annual event, showcasing the best schoolboy talent in the region and possibly unearthing another young footballer to match the Cowboys' all-time favourite player.
A Test and State of Origin representative who belied his size to become one of the game's biggest stars, Bowen played 270 NRL matches for North Queensland after making his debut at the start of the 2001 season and is one of only four Cowboys life members.
He also holds the record for most NRL tries for the club with 130, a massive 45 more than the next best Cowboy.
The long-time No.1 returned to Cowboys HQ today to launch the Sevens which will have a maximum number of 32 teams who will play a round-robin competition to decide the final four teams.
The semi-finals and finals will be played prior to a pre-season clash between the NYC Cowboys and the reigning TDRL premiers, the Herbert River Crushers.
"I feel very privileged and honoured to have a carnival named after me and to have it played where I went to school," Bowen said.
"I loved Abergowrie back then and I still do today."
Cowboys general manager – football Peter Parr said it was fitting that Bowen's name would be associated with a schoolboy Sevens tournament.
"Sevens is renowned for its exciting, attacking style of rugby league and that's what we were able to enjoy with Matthew in a Cowboys jersey for 13 very memorable seasons," Parr said.
"We first spotted him when he was at Abergowrie College and now those links between the Cowboys, the school and Matthew will be strengthened by having this tournament played in his honour each year."
To register for the Matthew Bowen Sevens, email Cowboys game development officer Aaron Payne – firstname.lastname@example.org.