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Matt Bowen secures Wigan Super League deal

Matt Bowen AAP Photo
NRL veteran Matt Bowen will extend his glittering career in Super League next season, after penning a one-year deal with Wigan.

The English club on Tuesday (AEST) signed the Cowboys' games record-holder for 2014, with a further option to play in 2015.

He has been brought in as a direct replacement for star England fullback Sam Tomkins, who is heading to New Zealand next year after securing a lucrative three-season contract with the Warriors.

The deal came as no surprise, however, with speculation around a move to England growing since Bowen was cut from the Cowboys late last month.

The 31-year-old, who insisted he would never play for any other NRL club, had been tossing up whether to head overseas or accept an office job with the Cowboys.

He said the switch to Wigan opened a whole new chapter in his playing career, which began with North Queensland in 2001.

"When I learned of Wigan's interest, it was an easy decision to make," Bowen said.

"I feel I still have a lot to offer as a player and competing in England is a new, exciting challenge for me.

"I did have options at North Queensland and will no doubt return there in some capacity in the future but, right now, joining the (Wigan) Warriors is the right decision for me and my career and I can't wait to meet up with my new teammates."

As well as playing his part on the field, Bowen said he was keen to help develop the club's young stars - a prospect embraced by chairman Ian Lenagan.

"It is a great opportunity for the likes of Ryan Hampshire and Lewis Tierney to continue their learning under one of the best fullbacks in the game," Lenagan said.

"Matthew has played at the very highest level for his club, in State of Origin and for his country and is a marquee signing for us."

Wigan coach Shaun Wane said he was just as excited as Bowen about the deal, adding the former Test No.1 still had the hunger and desire to continue his success.

"His defensive game is outstanding and his ability to open up any opposition in attack with his skill and flair are second to none," Wane said.

"It is fantastic that we have been able to sign Matty."

Bowen played 270 games for the Cowboys - making him the club's games record-holder and one of only four life members.

He has also featured in 10 Origin matches for Queensland and a single Test for Australia during his 2004 England tour.

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