Bowen is back. A week after being panned for his worst Northern Pride performance in two years, Cowboys ace Javid Bowen looked a changed and more invigorated weapon in the Pride's 44-24 victory over Mackay yesterday.
The centre joined fullback Linc Port in registering a hat-trick against a Cutters side that appears destined for a long season.
After off-season groin and shoulder surgery, Bowen admitted he was slowly rediscovering his attacking edge.
“After last week, it’s a big improvement,” he said. “Getting back from a few surgeries, I was poor last week and have been trying to get back in to it.
“I just had to get my head around being more confident with my shoulder and groin.
“I just want to play good here and hopefully get a crack (in the NRL) at some point in the year.
“But there are a few things in defence I need to fix up still.”
Pride coach O’Callaghan said the benchmark was now set for Cowboys allocations.
“He’s rocks or diamonds,” he said.
“But he was a lot better – we got him some early ball and he did what he does best.”
A year after their Barlow Park opener ended in embarrassment against the Blackhawks, the Pride made sure history didn’t repeat, extending their 28-12 lead at the break.
Like Round 1 against the Falcons, the Pride did have a nervous look over their shoulder when the margin was reduced to 10 with about 10 minutes to play – only this week the hosts answered.
“It was good that we kicked on again,” captain Ryan Ghietti said.
“The young boys just said we’ve got to stick to a game plan and got back in the grind.
“They just need to keep playing footy together and building those combinations.”
O’Callaghan said that he was happy with the first 40 minutes.
“What we saw in the first 25 minutes of the second half was young guys still getting used to closing a game out,” he said.
“The only way those young guys are going to get used to it is by playing Intrust Super Cup.”
Despite the loss, Mackay coach David Simpson echoed O’Callaghan in sticking by his young roster.
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NORTHERN PRIDE 44 (Linc Port 3, Javid Bowen 3, Khan Ahwang, Brayden Torpy tries; Khan Ahwang 6 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 24 (Matthew Wright, Joshua Chudleigh, Braden Uele, Johnny Faletagoa’i tries; Liam Taylor 4 goals) at Barlow
Round 2 match reports: