Maroons mentality key to seeing best Hess
Coen Hess admits he needs to adopt an Origin-style mentality to keep his Queensland jumper as he faces a Maroons threat from Storm rival Felise Kaufusi on Friday night.
Hess has played five consecutive games for the Maroons but North Queensland's spluttering early-season form has turned up the heat on the Cowboys back-rower in the battle for Origin jumpers.
While Hess has averaged just 79 running metres per game this season, Kaufusi has been slick for the Storm, averaging 125 metres per game, including 160 in round one against the Broncos.
When Hess made a shock Origin debut in 2017, it was the reward for tackle-busting brilliance which saw him score 13 tries from 27 appearances.
But after the opening month of the premiership, Hess has yet to register a try or a line-break in 297 minutes of action and has been guilty of some poor defensive reads.
Hess and Kaufusi were Maroons teammates last season but with Queensland's No.1 back-rower Matt Gillett back from a neck injury, the 22-year-old Cowboys hulk concedes he needs to lift - starting against the Storm in Townsville.
"For me at the moment, I can't even worry about playing Origin," Hess said.
"I need to focus on my start to the season and getting wins for the Cowboys, because if you get results at club level, that's how you get rewarded with rep jumpers.
"In Origin football, it's not really that flashy, it's a physical game and usually the guys who do their job the best with the right intensity ensures their team wins the game.
"I need to take that attitude into my football for the Cowboys.
"Even last year, 'Greeny' (Cowboys coach Paul Green) said when you are backing up from Origin, you don't have to be the best player on the field, you just need to do your job and do the little things well.
"That's my thinking at the moment."
Hess, who is averaging 32 post-contact metres this season, is facing a critical defensive assignment against the unbeaten, ladder-leading Storm.
"I'm fading in and out of games and not playing to my potential," he said.
"I need to focus on not trying to do anything special as such. I just need to do my job consistently and make sure the boys can rely on me for the full 80 minutes.
"Running the ball and getting my timing right isolating defenders can improve.
"Defensively, I feel I am reading the game quite well but I need to be a lot more urgent getting back into the line because the four-man defender is a key position in the defensive line.
"We are the link with the pack and the edges, so it's a tough job.
"My defence goes a long way to our success."