Javid to bring back the Bowen magic
Cowboys debutant Javid Bowen has admitted to feeling the pressure of furthering the 'Bowen' name ahead of his debut, but says he has received great guidance from uncle and past Cowboys star Matthew Bowen.
Going to school at Abergowrie College in Ingham – just over an hour's drive from Townsville – a young Javid made the trip north to see the most capped Cowboy star for his club week in, week out.
He would also stay with Matthew, giving the youngster valuable insight into what it took to become a professional footballer, both on and off the pitch.
"I guess it does, after what Matty has done in the game, but I'm ready for my shot," he said when asked about the pressure of being compared with one of the region's most iconic sports figures.
"I used to come down [to Townsville] and stay with him a lot and came to every game, and he's given me a lot of advice about footy. He's helped a lot.
"Just the way he carried himself at home and the things that he's done, and just watching him when he's playing."
Family is a big deal for the Bowens. Just like his past travels to see 'Mango' play, Javid has his own travelling convoy, with his parents making the 4.5-hour trip down from Hopevale to Cairns for Northern Pride home games.
The party will undoubtedly be large when the Cowboys face the Dragons on Saturday, with his uncle and former Dally M fullback of the Year sitting proudly in the stands.
"Watching him grow up from a young kid into starting playing rugby league and getting his first crack in first grade and with the Cowboys is always good," Matthew said of Javid.
"He's keeping the Bowen name alive and it will be good, I can't wait to see him get out there and enjoy it. He has some boys to look up to – obviously 'Johnno' (Johnathan Thurston) – we've played alongside him. It will be good for him and be good for his family."
Both Matthew and coach Paul Green have given the same advice to Javid – who will break the Cowboys' 1-17 line-up streak for the first time since the 2015 semi-finals – which is to just be himself and play within his comfort zone.
"He can't go out and do stuff he hasn't done before; just do the same thing he's been doing week in, week out for the Pride," Matthew said.
"He's just got to go out there and enjoy it. It's going to come around quick but in saying that it will be one to remember, so hopefully he can get it done and play well.
"He's obviously in a good system. 'Greeny' had him thereabouts last season, but he's injury free now and Javid has just been biding his time, and if he takes his chance with both hands this weekend the coach will hopefully show faith in picking him again next weekend."