Bowen: We need to keep young stars

Matty Bowen in action here against Saints
Matty Bowen in action here against Saints

MATTY Bowen hopes Warriors will keep hold of their clutch of young stars making an impact this season, despite acknowledging they will compete for his place.

The former State of Origin star, who has 12 years’ NRL experience under his belt has delighted fans with some magical performances in his first year at Wigan.

But the experienced fullback admits he is still learning, and has taken tips from youngsters suchs as Ryan Hampshire, Lewis Tierney and Jack Murphy, despite

being seen as the guru to teach the next generation his tricks of the trade. “I try to help them out wherever I can but I’m learning from them as well,” Bowen told the Evening Post.

“It’s great to have them around and they keep me on my feet as well.

“The little things they do - they try to keep me on my feet and put pressure on me to play well which is always good.”

Bowen recently extended his Wigan stay until the end of the 2015 season, and hopes to see the rising stars given their first team chance by Shaun Wane stay beyond the tenure of the ex-North Queensland Cowboys star.

“It’s a good place to be so it was an easy option for me to extend my stay,” he added.

“We have a fair few youngsters coming through and hopefully we can keep them here.

“Hopefully they can be the future of the club.”

Bowen is in line to feature in Wigan’s trip to Bradford on Sunday, and despite the Bulls relegation being confirmed last week, he says Wigan will be approaching James Lowes’ men with caution as they need the league points to push for top spot.

“You can’t take any team lightly and Bradford will be no different,” he said of approaching the final weeks of the regular season.

“Playing against the champions, they will want to put up a good game.

“They will be disappointed about being relegated but we just have to go out there and play our own game.”

With the Challenge Cup holders’ exit from the competition with the quarter-final defeat to Castleford last month, Wigan have two weekends in August with no game.

But even with a host of stars set to return from injury, including long-term absentees Michael McIlorum and Blake Gree, Bowen doesn’t see the rest as chance for Warriors to freshen up for the push to retain their title.

“You can look at it that way but you always want to keep playing,” he explained.

“We can get a few boys back into training - rest up and finish up going to win the competition but ideally you want to be playing every week.”

Wigan can move to the top of the table on Sunday if Widnes beat Saints tonight.