Coen Hess is hoping to continue the Cowboys' finals run against the Eels.
Coen Hess is hoping to continue the Cowboys' finals run against the Eels. Ian Hitchcock

Break gave us edge, says Cowboys star

COWBOYS second-rower Coen Hess says he is ready to keep the good times rolling after his emphatic up-front performance in last weekend's week-one finals victory.

Hess burst into life last weekend following a relatively quiet run heading into finals, with the big forward attributing his inspired 50-minute performance, yielding 95m, to the 10-day turnaround.

"We had two or three short turnarounds in the previous weeks and then came that long break, and it really did wonders for us," he said.

"We got a lot more time to relax and wind down, and at the start of week we were ready to, and I think that's what it came down to.

"Our training this week has been good as well, we're just doing what we have to do out on the field, but now it's mainly all about recovery and making sure we're as 100% as we can be come game time."

Hess and Jason Taumalolo were the undoubted X factors in North Queensland's epic 15-14 win over Cronulla.

Just when it seemed the Cowboys had their backs broken after Cronulla's second-half try through James Maloney to make it 14-4, up stepped Hess to keep North Queensland in the fight with a number of powerful carries.

"The win was really special, and going forward we have a really good opportunity to go all the way," Hess said.

"Every team's goal is to win the premiership, and if it wasn't I guess we wouldn't be playing.

"There's no reason why we can't do it."

The Cowboys probably face a tougher middle battle this weekend, however, with Parramatta coming agonisingly close to upsetting premiership favourites Melbourne with a physical display.

Hess will again need to be at full service if North Queensland is any chance of getting Parramatta's measure at ANZ Stadium, a venue where the Cowboys have won their past five games.

"They're obviously a very physical team and have a lot of strike power all over the field, so I think our whole 17 will really have to be on our game to get the result," he said.

"So many of their guys have been stepping up this year."

Hess is playing his second NRL finals' campaign following his breakout season last year, where he played in all three of North Queensland's finals game.

He was on the periphery when the Cowboys won their maiden premiership in 2015, at a time when North Queensland road a wave of motion to go all the way.


Michael Thompson