Cowboys still hopeful Bowen will return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys still hopeful Bowen will return

By Laine Clark 15/04/2008 05:26:46 PM Comments (0)

A final decision on Matt Bowen's availability will be made on Thursday despite the livewire fullback not being named for North Queensland's NRL home clash with the New Zealand Warriors.

Ash Graham has been officially named at fullback for Saturday night's heritage round showdown at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

But the Cowboys will give Bowen until the last minute to overcome a knee complaint that has sidelined him since round three's 36-2 loss to the Broncos.

"He will be running with the team tomorrow afternoon and we will see how his knee pulls up after that," Cowboys head trainer Glen Murphy said.

"We will make a decision after Matt, the coaching and medical staff sit down and discuss it on Thursday."

Bowen raised hopes of a last round return against the Dragons when he trained with the side last Thursday without problems after a cortisone injection.

After erring on the side of caution, Bowen missed the Cowboys' 20-16 win at Wollongong - their second straight victory.

Bowen's omission on the official team sheet was a surprise after the matchwinner told Cowboys coach Graham Murray on Monday his knee was "the best he had felt for a few weeks".

Bowen has been troubled by his knee since undergoing minor off-season surgery, even throwing a scare into the Cowboys camp by pulling out of training on the eve of their season opener at the Gold Coast.

Murphy said the injury could throw something different at the Cowboys medical staff each week.

"Maintenance for him would depend on what happened to him on the field - how he has been tackled, what type of game it was for him, a number of different factors," he said.

He has battled to be 100 per cent fit from the outset in 2008, ensuring the Cowboys will take no risks this week.

"We want to look after him long term," Murphy said.

"You don't want to risk any injury, especially knees.

"We are looking after his best interests."

At least the Cowboys have a more than capable fullback replacement in Graham.

He has had the Midas touch since slotting in at No.1, featuring in their only wins of 2008 - a 34-18 home victory over Parramatta and last round's triumph over the Dragons.

Cowboys coach Murray added only Matthew Bartlett to the 17 which downed the Dragons for Saturday night's clash with the Warriors.

Bowen's fitness test will ensure nervous moments for winger Ty Williams and centre Mark Henry.

Either former Queensland Origin flyer Williams or Henry are expected to step aside in a reshuffled Cowboys side if Bowen is given the green light on Thursday.

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