A name synonymous with North Queensland is back up in lights in Townsville with Javid Bowen helping the Cowboys romp to a 36-0 NRL win over St George Illawarra.
The nephew of Cowboys great Matt Bowen had a dream debut capped by a 55th minute try as North Queensland bounced back from last round’s golden point loss in the grand final re-match against Brisbane.
Matt Bowen watched proudly from the stands as the Cowboys ran out convincing winners, scoring six unanswered tries including a double to winger Kyle Feldt.
But it wasn’t without controversy.
Backrower Gavin Cooper opened the scoring in the 25th minute when he was awarded a contentious try by the bunker.
Cooper dived over from dummy half but appeared to be held up.
The bunker overturned the on-field official’s “no try” call despite replays indicating Cooper grounded the ball after the tackle’s momentum had stopped.
“The argument has to be had – when is it time up to put the ball down?” Dragons great Mark Gasnier told Fox Sports TV.
“For me, momentum had stopped and that’s the ruling.”
However it mattered little as Johnathan Thurston’s masterful kicking game helped the Cowboys grab a 12-0 halftime lead before finding another gear in the second stanza.
Bowen – replacing injured centre Kane Linnett (shoulder) – impressed on debut as North Queensland shook off their last round gutwrenching loss in Brisbane.
It is the second straight home game in which North Queensland have held a team scoreless following their round three 40-0 demolition of the Sydney Roosters.
They have claimed the first three home games of a season for the first time since 2006.
In contrast, the Dragons again looked flat in attack despite the return of playmaker Benji Marshall.
The veteran half had looked to make up for lost time after missing the past fortnight with a hamstring complaint as he vied for another contract.
But he was perhaps guilty of trying too hard, at one stage darting across field in a bid to spark something only to be bundled into touch.
To put the Dragons’ plight in context, the Cowboys scored the same amount of tries on Saturday night as the visitors had all season.
It was the sixth straight away loss for the Dragons.
Not an ideal start to a horror away run which includes trips to the Gold Coast and Brisbane.