Wigan Warriors: Matty Bowen discusses why he moved to Super League and reflects on his derby game memories
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The retired fullback joined the Warriors in 2014, and spent two seasons in the North West before calling time on his career.
Bowen states he was made to feel very welcome by everyone at the club.
“I really wanted to go and see what it was all about. I know I only spent two years there, but I really enjoyed it.
“I loved watching guys like Paul Deacon and Kris Radlinski, and I was lucky to be part of the club when they were there.
“I had been a one club player. Everyone thought that I wouldn’t leave and that I didn’t like the cold, but I wanted to prove those people wrong, and got two more years of playing footy.
“Wigan was one of the clubs that did stand out to me, no doubt it was the right move.
“They made us feel really welcome, and I was very grateful for that. Shaun Wane made us very comfortable, and we really enjoyed our time there. He made me want to play for the club.
“The move was a big one, and I wish I had done it earlier in my career.
“I had to quickly adapt to the cold, but I loved it by the end of my time there, it was something different.
“Super League is a lot faster than the NRL, and far more enjoyable to play in. In Australia it is more of a possession game and wrestling on the ground, but Super League is quicker and they like to shift the ball.
“A lot of people say it's easy, but some of the teams you play against are competitive. You’ve also got the fans who are really passionate, and that’s the part we enjoyed.
“I wanted the challenge. I wasn’t just going over there to claim my spot, there were a load of young kids at Wigan who I wanted to help as well.”
Bowen says he always liked the local edge to Wigan’s rivalries with other teams.
“I loved running out at the DW Stadium,” he added.
“Seeing it all first-hand was something special. You know how big the games are, especially when Wigan play Saints. It’s a different level.
“The fans are very passionate and hate losing against them. A lot of the Aussie players go over and fall into that competitiveness because it’s such a great rivalry.
“You could see how much it meant by how the players spoke. You want to go out and perform, because otherwise the fans will let you know about it.
“They were great games to be a part of, and of course they are not that far away.
“Playing for the Cowboys for most of my career, we had to travel the day before for games, getting a plane which could take two or three hours, but then here, St Helens was over the hill and Warrington was down the road. I loved that.
“Our nearest rival was the Brisbane Broncos and that was a 16-18 hour drive.”