He has shown that his spark is back, but for Cowboys fullback Matthew Bowen, he said that he was very close to giving the game up, after undergoing surgery on both of his knees, during his period of severe injuries.

After missing several years with similar injuries, the live-wire fullback has returned, and is fitter than ever, with the partnership with Cowboys five-eighth Jonathon Thurston going as strong as ever.

The story could have gone in a different direction though, as Bowen was undergoing knee surgery in Perth, and with one dodgy knee already, doing the second one, cast doubt in his mind about a return.

“I’ll be honest, giving it away did cross my mind,” Bowen said.

“It was a tough time but, luckily enough, I stuck through it.

“I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.

“Coming back from the first knee injury was pretty hard and then I had to do the same thing with the second one. It has been a long and hard road – that’s all behind me now and I’m looking to play consistent footy and turn up each week.”

Bowen still clings to hope that another Origin berth is in him, and it was courtesy of Cowboys conditioning boss, former Cowboy Paul Bowman, that turned Bowen’s career around.

“When I came back from the knee problems, it was a slow start. But I’ve had a full pre-season of training with the boys now, which I haven’t had for ages,” Bowen said.

“Bear (Bowman) has been good, I don’t train at the start of the week if I’m a bit sore. I have been up front with it, if I can’t train I tell him and then I jump on the bike. Bear has been good in that way. When I can get on the paddock I get out there and train.”

By ricky

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