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'Want to be like him': Gebbie thriving under Bowen

Growing up in Sogeri, in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea, Edene Gebbie loved to watch Queensland Maroons legend Matt Bowen in action.

For a young speedster, there was no better idol to have in rugby league.

Fast forward to today and Gebbie is living out a childhood dream, as he learns from the man himself in Townsville’s representative team.

Gebbie was selected for the side in April, when they overcame Mackay and Cairns to take out this year’s XXXX Foley Shield.

This Saturday, July 30, he will now look to lead Townsville all the way to the state title, when they take on the Gold Coast in the XXXX League Championship grand final.

Bowen, alongside the experienced Roy Baira, co-coaches the Townsville team and the opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greatest fullbacks has been invaluable for Gebbie.

“He’s been really good,” Gebbie said of Bowen.

“As a kid growing up watching him play, I was one of his fans back home. I just loved how he plays, the way he plays… it makes me want to be like him.

“When I met him, he’s such a nice guy. He comes down to our level, especially for the younger guys. He’s a role model to us.

“He tells me to just catch the ball, run, and run fast. That’s what he always tells me. Back yourself and just run.

“It’s been good for me the way he coaches, the way he talks.”


Edene Gebbie went to another level in 2019 🤯 #IntrustSuperCup

Posted by Hostplus Cup on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Gebbie starred at fullback for Townsville in the XXXX Foley Shield and in the side’s XXXX League Championship semi-final victory over Rockhampton last month.

He has been named on the wing against the Gold Coast this weekend, with Carlin Anderson moving into the fullback role.

Gebbie only arrived in Townsville at the end of last year, after he signed with the Blackhawks following a rollercoaster few years.

The 27-year-old former PNG and Wynnum Manly gun had a taste of NRL systems with both the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers, but also experienced some disruption due to the impact of COVID-19 on the game.

Since arriving in Townsville however, Gebbie has been slowly building back to his best football, playing with Centrals ASA Tigers in the local A grade competition, earning selection with the representative team, and making a return to the Hostplus Cup with the Townsville Blackhawks earlier this month.

He scored a try in that outing and while he admits he has been a “bit upset” with his form, he knows Townsville is the right place for him.

“It’s been good here, especially around the boys,” Gebbie said.

“It felt so good to get back (in Hostplus Cup). I missed it for like a year or two years so it was good to be back, playing for the Blackhawks.

“Normally I feel home sick but moving up here I don’t feel home sick anymore. It’s because of the playing group, the coaching staff, the people in the office.

“Everyone in and around the club just makes me feel at home.”

As well as getting more time in the Hostplus Cup before the 2022 season is over, Gebbie also has his sights set on a World Cup call up for Papua New Guinea.

But his next big goal is to claim a win for Townsville this Saturday.

He knows what a win would mean, not just for his teammates and Bowen and Baira, but for his new home in Townsville as well.

“I’m going to take this final very serious,” Gebbie said.

“I will do what I love doing on the field. Go hard. Back each other up. Play hard and get the win. That’s all I’m expecting.”

The XXXX League Championship grand final will be held at Neil Stewart Park in Townsville from 4pm on Saturday, July 30.

The match will be broadcast live and free on and Kayo Freebies from 3.50pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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