Ben Barba can bring magic back to North Queensland Cowboys, insists Johnathan Thurston

Drew Darbyshire

Johnathan Thurston thinks Ben Barba can be as good as Matty Bowen at North Queensland Cowboys next year.

Barba will return to the NRL in 2019 after having a short spell in Super League with St Helens, where he picked up the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

Former Queensland, Cowboys and Wigan Warriors star Bowen became a household name in the NRL with his mesmerising play and Thurston believes Barba can be a similar figure next year.

Thurston said: “Benny Barba, we all know what he can do on the football field.

“We’ve seen that (Bowen-type magic) throughout his career and certainly having him at full-back, he has got a lot of speed and can change the game in the blink of an eye.

“That is what we have probably lacked throughout the year so hopefully he can score a few tries for us.

“I think he will fit into our structures really well and I don’t think the boys will be having a year like they did last season. I think the club is in really good shape for next year, obviously getting Morgo’ (Michael Morgan) back.”