Matt Bowen announces his retirement

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys games record holder Matthew Bowen will leave the NRL club's playing ranks at the end of the 2013 season.

Preparing for his 268th NRL match this weekend, Bowen will take up an overseas playing position currently being negotiated or switch over to off-field roles with the Cowboys and NRL, working as an ambassador and with the club's community programs.

In a remarkable career, the 31-year-old has played 13 NRL seasons with his home club as well as representing Queensland, Australia and the Indigenous All Stars.

He is one of only four life members with the Cowboys and has played in all of North Queensland's finals campaigns.

Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain said the crowd favourite's career would be celebrated in the final home game against Wests Tigers at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday week.

"There is no-one in the NRL who is more loved by a club's members and fans than Matthew with the Cowboys," Mr Jourdain said.