Bowen still needs knee clearance to play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bowen still needs knee clearance to play

By Wayne Heming 25/02/2009 07:59:15 PM Comments (0)

Matt Bowen's return to the playing field remains in the hands of his specialist after he was named on the bench for the Cowboys' pre-season trial against Penrith at Cairns' Barlow Park on Saturday night.

New coach Neil Henry is hoping his attacking trump gets the green light after he visits his specialist John Maguire on Thursday morning.

Bowen has made a remarkable recovery from radical knee surgery which involved implanting artificial cartilage in his knee last July.

The unusual surgery seems to have been a success but Bowen still needs a medical clearance before returning to the field.

After initial fears the former Queensland Origin utility would miss the first four-to-six weeks of the 2009 season, he is now on target to turn out against the Brisbane Broncos in the first round on March 13.

While Bowen's inclusion would excite North Queensland fans, the starting debut of young express back Donald Malone could be the dawn of another attacking star.

Henry has named the 22-year-old nephew of Bronco great Steve "The Pearl" Renouf on the wing on the back of his efforts off the bench against the Warriors in New Zealand last week.

Malone is much bigger than Renouf, almost as quick and definitely possesses some of the family try-scoring talent.

Before the Cowboys pounced to beat NRL rivals to his signature this season he set a club record with a five-try haul for Ipswich in their 62-10 thrashing of Tweed Heads in a Queensland Cup game last August.

Renouf believes the move north has brought out the best in his cousin who was banned from the game for 12 months in 2006 after testing positive to the recreational drug cannabis while playing for Brisbane Easts.

"He's loving it at the Cowboys," said Renouf, who speaks to Malone regularly.

"He has really thrived up their under (fitness conditioner) Billy Johnstone and is impressing a few people which is good."

The forwards clash will be rugged with Henry naming Antonio Kaufusi, Luke O'Donnell and converted back-rower Ben Harrison in his pack.

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