Javid carving his own path
SIDLING up after training at 1300SMILES Stadium, Cowboys winger Javid Bowen smiles as he takes a seat, despite the heat on a particularly humid day.
While he's just four seasons into his own career, of all the names synonymous with the North Queensland Cowboys, not many sit in such high regard as that of Bowen, and the 25-year-old's polite demeanour and humorous nature are as recognisable of his namesake.
For 270 games across 13 seasons, recent Cowboys Hall of Fame inductee and Javid's uncle Matt Bowen shon under the bright lights of 1300SMILES Stadium, as the cry of "mango" rang out, when the fullback and five-eighth with the flowing locks electrified the crowd time and again.
While Matt and his locks are now consigned to legend, the famous surname is far from done, with Javid continuing on the legacy as he looks to forge his own path in the tough world of professional rugby league.
But watching on at the Cowboys season launch as his uncle received the club's ultimate honour, Bowen was proud to be a member of the family.
"I don't think anyone really knew about it," Bowen said of the induction.
"I don't think he even really knew about it until a couple of days out, but the family was very excited about it."
"He's done a lot for the game and this club, so I just try to mimic what he did and what he does... he's helped me a lot."
At 193cm and 91kg, Bowen cuts a figure of fitness, which is highlighted by electric speed that rivals that of the fastest players in the National Rugby League competition.
However, as gifted as he is, Bowen's career has yet to track the path to stardom it appeared destined to after he received the Cowboys Rookie of the Year award in 2016.
In and out of the side Bowen played 10, 13 and six games in his first three seasons, but has been a starter in both the Cowboys games so far this season.
While the return of Kyle Feldt from injury is a given, Bowen isn't ready to give up his starting position, and after a brutal summer of training, he said he was ready to fight hard to remain in the side.
"It was good to be in the round 1 side; I put a fair bit of work into the pre-season, so I was looking forward to getting the season started," he said.
"And (cementing a starting spot) was the plan. I've been here a few seasons now and I've been in and out of the side, so I've got a fair idea of what's expected and what you pretty much have to do to play week in week out.
"I need to be consistent and play hard and tough footy."
Although the opening round defeat of St George was soured by a 29-10 loss to the Broncos last Friday night in the Queensland Derby in Brisbane, Bowen is convinced the new-look Cowboys have the nucleus of a championship side.
"We've got a pretty good young band of players, but we're still getting used to each other," he said.
"So when we come together, we'll be unbeatable, I reckon."
Standing at over 20cm taller than his uncle, Javid won't become "Mango 2.0", but the man affectionately known as "Jango", has retained his starting spot for this weekend's game against Cronulla at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Bowen isn't sure what the future holds, but is happy to continue the name as a Cowboy.
And as for the flowing locks, he wasn't so sure, but thanks to his fellow players, he'll be reminded every step.
"A lot of the boys give me shit about it (hair)," said Bowen with a laugh.
"I reckon it's (hair) almost gone right now actually.... but yeah, in a couple more years, it might be gone."