Cowboys hopeful despite Bowen's surgery - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys hopeful despite Bowen's surgery

By Todd Balym and Ben Galvin 18/06/2008 05:09:17 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland insist they haven't given up on their dire 2008 NRL campaign despite a decision to book Matt Bowen in for season-ending knee surgery.

The Cowboys on Wednesday gave up on Bowen's attempts to recover from a knee injury and instead booked the star fullback in for a surgical procedure to implant artificial cartilage into his left knee.

He will require up to nine months of rehabilitation and the club is hopeful the 26-year-old will recover in time to start the 2009 NRL season.

While the Cowboys have often delayed surgery for players until the post-season, they insist the decision is not a sign they've given up on making the finals despite sitting second-last on the NRL table and riding a horrendous seven-game losing streak.

"Whether we were coming second or second last, as the situation is, this decision is made in the best interests of Matt," said Cowboys general manager of football Dean Lance.

"It is a huge loss to the club personnel-wise, but physically it needs to be done for Matt's well-being.

"We want him playing next year so it needs to be done in the next few weeks."

Shattered Bowen agreed that missing the rest of the year was in the best interests of his long-term health and also insisted the club's perilous position on the NRL table wasn't a factor.

"If we were first or coming second I would still get this operation done," said Bowen.

"It's not because we are not in the race to make the top eight.

"I'm dying to play with the boys, but this has to come first and I will get back next year.

"It's long-term (thinking) for me I suppose. I want to walk after I finish footy."

Bowen's loss is another massive blow in a forgettable year for the Cowboys, which includes the mid-year resignation of coach Graham Murray, a forwards injury crisis, plus lengthy suspensions handed down to key backrower Luke O'Donnell and five-eighth Travis Burns.

The year started dreadfully with a three-game losing streak, before a string of three wins gave hope the Cowboys could live up to their potential and challenge for the title.

But their good form was short-lived and the Cowboys are now on their worst losing streak since 1999, struggling in 15th on equal points with last-placed South Sydney, four wins outside the top eight.

The Cowboys have shortened to $3.00 for the wooden spoon, trailing only the Rabbitohs ($1.80).

Despite all the hardship, Lance insists the Cowboys are edging towards their fourth win of the season.

"I won't say it's a run of bad luck, but things are not falling into place as much as we would like," said Lance.

"We are doing our best and I think we will see there's a big improvement in the team."

Bowen meanwhile said he would call upon good friend and teammate Ty Williams as motivation to help him recover from his surgery, as the former Queensland winger underwent the same operation in 2007.

"I have spoken to Ty and he has told me a lot about it and just to try and keep off it as much as I can," Bowen said.

"Ty has been good and to see what his knee has come back from it gives me a big boost to see what Ty did.

"I have the break now to think things over and get the knee done and repaired and hopefully get back bigger and better next year."

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