Hess vows to bounce back
COWBOYS backrower Coen Hess says the club’s young forwards have taken it as a personal challenge to muscle up through the middle in tomorrow night’s blockbuster clash with the Melbourne Storm at 1300SMILES Stadium.
The Cowboys have been the best defensive team in the competition over the past two months, but their pride took a hit last weekend as the Roosters steamrolled them in the second half.
The Roosters dominated the yardage game to run for almost twice as many metres as the visitors, helping them to score 16 unanswered points and clinch an important victory in the race towards the finals.
The Cowboys would be in the top four if they had capitalised on their 16- 6 halftime lead against the Roosters and Hess said they were determined to learn from their mistakes before a potentially season- defining clash with the firstplaced Storm. “We knew the task ahead of us and we knew it’d be a very tough game so in that respect I don’t think anyone took it lightly, but I think as younger guys we learnt a lesson about needing to step up in those tough games,” Hess said.
“They came out in the second half with a lot more intent and aggression through the middle. I think that’s where they won the game.
“They steamrolled us there a bit and let ( Luke) Keary and ( Mitchell) Pearce run off the back of that. They’ve got a lot of good outside backs as well which they were able to pitch the ball to and that’s where they hurt us.
“I guess we took that a bit personally and we’ll be looking to bounce back.”
The Storm have built their domi- nance through their forward pack and no player is more clinical in the ruck than captain Cameron Smith.
Smith gave New South Wales nightmares in last month’s Origin decider, running nine times from dummy half in a man- of- the- match performance as the Maroons clinched the series.
The crafty hooker was again at his scheming best against Manly last weekend, laying on four tries in the 40- 6 rout, and Hess said the Cowboys couldn’t afford to give Smith an inch.
“We have to fight in the ruck there. They’re obviously a very good defensive unit so with the ball we’ll have to be a bit smarter,” Hess said.
“Just looking at what he ( Smith) did last week, that was probably one of the best games he’s played all season so he’ll be coming up here with a lot of confidence.
“Being one of the best players in the game, if you give him space or time then he can really be a threat.”