Hess key to future
REPORTS of the demise of the Maroons dynasty are premature.
That’s the opinion of former Queensland prop Ben Hannant, who believes the smooth introduction of youngsters like Coen Hess will result in more pain for the Blues. Hess has been gradually eased into the system after being blooded the past two Origins, stepping up his minutes from 19 in Game Two to 32 in Wednesday’s series- deciding win.
Valentine Holmes, Anthony Milford, Jarrod Wallace, Tim Glasby, Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster also debuted this series.
Their youthful enthusiasm was a major factor in Queensland turning the series around after they were humiliated 28- 4 in Game One.
Normally a back rower, Hess has been shifted to the middle by both North Queensland and the Maroons with great effect.
It has allowed him to use his massive frame to his advantage and avoid being forced to make crucial defensive decisions on the edge.
Hannant said Hess should continue his apprenticeship in the middle, but has the abil- ity to develop into one of Origin’s most destructive back rowers.
“At this high level in the middle you’ve got a lot of support around you and he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” Hannant said.
“In a couple of years’ time we may see him on an edge with a bit more experience, but when he’s given a task he delivers every time.
“He was only in under 20s when I was there ( at the Cowboys) and seeing him train and develop, he’s built for this arena.
“He’s built like a Greek god and he’s willing to learn, that’s the big thing.
“He’s teachable and wants to learn more and improve, that’s the sign of a champion.
“These young kids have learned the culture, and how to win.”
Hess was forced to wait until the second half for game time in his debut, but was thrown into the action after 25 minutes at a packed Suncorp Stadium.
“I felt a lot more comfortable after my debut and I’m on cloud nine at the moment,” Hess said.
“I don’t know how to explain it. It’s all happened and unfolded so quickly.
“Coming into Origin there’s a lot of experienced players and being so young and raw to the NRL, I’m trying to be a sponge and soak up as much as I can.
“Being in the middle you get through more of a workload and everything happens so quickly and that’s the biggest difference. You get a lot more categories and I’m enjoying it.”
The 20- year- old proved he already has the maturity to brush aside the euphoria of Origin and back up for the Cowboys.
He ran for over 200 metres against Penrith after Game Two and according to fellow Cowboys star Gavin Cooper got more shut eye than most of his celebrating Maroons teammates on Wednesday night. “He was keen for bed at about 2am, I think he wanted to go play Crash Bandicoot or something,” Cooper said.