The thought of Matt Bowen back in full flight excites North Queensland’s Auckland Nines captain Gavin Cooper.
But Cooper admitted he was most intrigued by the prospect of unleashing try-scoring machine Gideon Gela-Mosby at Eden Park this weekend.
“Gids is lightning,” Cooper said of the winger.
“I really want to see him in open space.”
Cooper will lead a Cowboys Nines squad featuring comeback king Bowen and 13 players from their NRL premiership-winning team.
North Queensland favourite son Bowen confirmed last week he would come out of retirement to spark the Cowboys’ Nines charge.
Cowboys coach Paul Green granted the 33-year-old one last hurrah after the veteran fullback returned from a two-year UK stint to take up a community development role at North Queensland.
However, it was the unheralded Gela-Mosby who was tipped by the Cowboys to turn most heads in Auckland.
The 19-year-old shattered the under-20s try-scoring record last year, crossing 39 times.
He easily eclipsed Wests Tigers utility Jake Mullaney’s old NYC mark of 29 tries.
The Torres Strait Island speedster only took up rugby league at 14 but appears to be a fast learner judging by a gushing Green.
“Let’s hope he is really exciting for us, that is part of the reason I picked him,” Green said.
“Having those younger legs will help some of the older buggers.”
Not that Bowen needs any help judging by his impressive training form since returning to the Cowboys.
“He looks pretty good, he’s trimmed up a little bit since being back,” Cooper said.
“He looks like he is in second gear all the time but when he has to push it up a few notches he will.”
Green added: “Having Matty Bowen there will give us a boost (in Auckland).
“He has enjoyed being back out on the training paddock with the boys.”
Co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott will again miss the Nines as they prepare for the World Club Challenge against Leeds in the UK on February 21.
Thurston is the only member of the Cowboys’ title-winning backline who will be absent at Auckland.