Matt Bowen insists he is not taking his first-team spot for granted, despite the fullback’s star showings since his return to the Wigan Warriors starting line-up.
The 33-year-old former North Queensland Cowboys legend was dropped by Shaun Wane from the starting line-up back in March and had to look on from the sidelines as youngster Ryan Hampshire impressed in the No.1 shirt.
Wane went out of his way to praise Bowen’s professionalism during his spell out of the first team and after recalling the former Aussie international last month, Wigan have reaped the rewards.
A two-try showing from Bowen on Magic Weekend saw the Warriors dispose of table-toppers Leeds Rhinos before the fullback also impressed in victory over Huddersfield last time out.
Next up for the Warriors is the local derby against defending champions St Helens, their conquerors in last year’s Grand Final, and Bowen admits he will need to maintain his current form to stay in the Wigan side.
“I was working hard in training, I got my chance and hopefully I can keep playing well,” said Bowen.
“It was a bit frustrating, but it gives the body a bit of a rest. The boys were playing well, and we stuck with young Rocky (Hampshire), he deserved to be there and I was right behind the guys.
“Luckily enough I have got my chance to get back in now. It’s a good healthy competition in the squad.
“I am getting a bit older, he is only young so he is keeping me on my toes.
“Both teams are looking forward to this weekend, I have had the chance to play in a couple of derby games and it is a great experience. That will be no different this weekend and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Bowen’s two-year stay in Wigan looks set to come to an end this season with a return Down Under and after Wigan fell at the final hurdle last season, the former North Queensland Cowboy admits he would love to go out on a high.
“I am loving it over here and so are the kids. They don’t want to leave,” he added.
“Of course I want to finish on a high, we know we have got a good squad that can go all the way.”