Wane tips Bowen to be huge hit
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane is expecting Australian full-back Matty Bowen to make a big impact in First Utility Super League after making a "mind-blowing" impression during pre-season training.
The 31-year-old Bowen has been recruited from North Queensland Cowboys to plug the gap created by Sam Tomkins' departure to New Zealand Warriors and he caught the eye of his coach during the club's training camp in Florida.
"Matty Bowen is a different sort of full-back to Sam," Wane said at the Warriors' pre-season media day.
"He's quite a bit older so we will slightly change the way we play, just slight technical changes, probably not enough for people to notice.
"He's got a great kicking game and good skills and he has been absolutely mind-blowing in training. The players have been amazed by some of the things that he does."
Bowen, a one-club man in the NRL, was not offered a new playing contract by the Cowboys amid doubts over his fitness following persistent knee trouble.
Wane is confident the Queenslander will prove his worth but will not over-play the veteran as he looks to give more opportunities to 19-year-old full-back Ryan Hampshire, who impressed on his six Super League appearances in 2013.
"We've got Matty checked out medically and, if we can keep him on the field, he's going to be a great asset," Wane said.
"He won't be playing lots of games because I want to see what Rocky (Hampshire) does as well. He is a great full-back and an absolute quality player."
Hampshire edged ahead of another of the club's academy products, Lewis Tierney, son of former Wigan and England winger Jason Robinson, while winger Joe Burgess, 19, is also expected to get more Super League experience in 2014 and the chance to replace the departed Pat Richards.
"They'll both have a chance to impress me in the pre-season friendlies and, if they do, one of them will be in," Wane said.