Matty Bowen's revelation about wife as NRL hero drops bombshell about Cowboys exit

The fullback is one of North Queensland's favourite sons.

NRL champion Matty Bowen has spoken publicly for the first time about his family's heartache that he missed out on playing in the 2015 grand final triumph, revealing it wasn't actually his decision to leave the Cowboys. Bowen played 270 games for North Queensland and represented the Maroons 10 times in State of Origin.

The diminutive fullback is one of the Cowboys' favourite sons, and left fans shattered at the end of the 2013 season when he left the club to take up a deal with Wigan in the UK Super League. Just two years later the Cowboys went on to win the competition, beating Brisbane in one of the greatest grand finals of all time.

Matty Bowen with his wife and kids.
Matty Bowen with his wife and kids in 2013. (Getty Images)

At the time of Bowen's departure it was reported that he made the decision to leave. But speaking on the 'Unfiltered' podcast with Andy Raymond this week, Bowen revealed for the first time how that wasn't actually the case.

"To be honest I wish I had stayed at the Cows," he said. "I was told I wasn't needed at the club at the time. You get called into the office and they say they haven't got room for you next year … I didn't know what to say … I didn't know what to think.

Matty Bowen after his final NRL game in 2013.
Matty Bowen is chaired off the ground after his final NRL game for the Cowboys in 2013. (Ian Hitchcock via Getty Images)

"Two years later they won the comp and I would have been a part of it. It was a kick in the guts. Obviously I did so much for this club and my missus is still bitter about it today. I love the club, don't get me wrong. I know how hard the players train.

"But being told that at the back end of the year - and I think I just missed out on the Dally M (Medal). I was only 29 or 30 and I knew I had more to offer."

Matty Bowen rejected chance to return to Cowboys

Bowen was offered a chance to return to the Cowboys in the middle of his stint with Wigan, but turned it down out of pride because he felt disrespected. He also wanted to stay local to Wigan after the English club took a punt on him and showed their faith.


Bowen played the majority of his career at fullback but was used as an X-factor off the bench at State of Origin level. He had the ability to cut the tiring NSW forwards to shreds up the middle with his fresh legs, and famously scored the match-winning intercept try in golden point in Game I of the 2005 series.

At the time of his departure from the Cowboys, the club made the decision to prioritise the younger Lachlan Coote at fullback. But many felt Bowen still could have played a role as a bench utility.