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Pride signs backline stars

Emma Greenwood

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

© The Cairns Post


THE Northern Pride has snared another top flight signature for next season, adding Hope Vale product Brenton Bowen to an already cracking backline.

Bowen is likely to line up outside another 2010 recruit, centre Brett Anderson, to give the Pride a perfect replacement for three-quarters Rod Jensen (retirement) and Germaine Paulsen (Burleigh Bears).

Pictures: Northern Pride 2009

And in another massive boost to the Queensland Cup side's premiership hopes, inspirational captain and halfback Chris Sheppard has confirmed he will play on in 2010.

Sheppard revealed the side's grand final loss to the Sunshine Coast helped put retirement thoughts on hold.

Bowen, 26, links with the Pride after two years on the Gold Coast in the Titans program.

After playing five NRL games in 2008, injury and the rise of Titans youngsters such as David Mead robbed Bowen of first-grade chances in 2009.

His signature is another coup for the Pride, which continues its tradition of bringing local products home to play out their careers.

"It's massive," Pride coach Andrew Dunemann said of Bowen's signing.

"Obviously he's from up here originally, has a great name and can play a bit.

"We'll put him outside Ando (Brett Anderson) and they'll form a lethal combination.

"It's great that he picked us over England where he was also looking."

Bowen, a qualified teacher, is also expected to play a part in the Pride’s development program which is taking a greater role in indigenous communities throughout the Far North.

"I imagine he'll play a role in Chey's (fullback and development officer Chey Bird's) program," Dunemann said.

"We're looking more and more to get into communities and play a role with those kids."

Bowen played 45 games for the North Queensland Cowboys from 2003-2007 before linking with the Titans and bringing up his 50th NRL game last year.

He is also among the top try scorers in Queensland Cup history after racking up more than 75 for the now defunct North Queensland Young Guns and Titans feeder club Tweed Heads.

While the signing of Anderson and Bowen has grabbed headlines, they will not be the only names to boost the Pride's backline in 2010.

Cairns District rugby League pair Nick Obodin (Brothers) and Taputoa Red (Kangaroos) have also joined the Pride, while negotiations are continuing with Brothers five-eighth Nathan Kepa.

"Those two (Obodin and Rea) can play Queensland Cup on their ear and can be a permanent fixture in our team," Dunemann said.

If Kepa does not link with the Pride, he is expected to join an NRL program.


High hopes: Brenton Bowen training with the Gold Coast Titans, has signed with the Northern Pride for next season.

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