Hess says Origin spirit still strong
COEN Hess believes in miracles. How could he not after making his State of Origin debut in one of Queensland's greatest comebacks in history?
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Hess will still believe.
The Blues were on the cusp of winning just their second series in a decade when they led 16-6 at halftime and were in control early in the second stanza in Game Two last year.
But in a performance that ranks with any of the Maroons great fightbacks, Queensland refused to yield and eventually took honours when a busted Johnathan Thurston nailed a sideline conversion in the dying minutes.
Cowboys forward Hess came off the bench in that game, his Origin baptism coming in a match that would forge the belief that the Maroons' never-say-die attitude is far more than just legend.
"It was unreal, you can't really describe it," he said. "It's giving me goose bumps thinking about it. There were so many clutch plays in that last 20 minutes.
"You watch the highlights back now and are dumbfounded as to how it all turned out.
"For me coming into Game Two and not knowing what to expect, it was a bit daunting. But I obviously gained a lot of confidence from last year."
An impact player off the bench last year, Hess has become an 80-minute man for the Cowboys in a move that may have seemed to dull his impact from the outside, but clubmate Gavin Cooper said that was far from the case.
"He's not playing the same role at clubland as he was last year, so he's not coming on with the big, tired forwards in the middle and scoring two tries a game, so everyone thinks he's having a s*** year," Cooper said.
"But for what we're doing at the club, Hessy's form's been pretty good, I think."
While not a religious man, Hess admitted he had been praying he would make the Queensland team and is now out to make an impact in the middle when he lines up against the Blues on Wednesday night.
"We've got big Naps (Dylan Napa) and JWall (Jarrod Wallace) there who will no doubt do a good opening job for us, so it's up to us bench guys to step in once they've come off and continue what they've started," he said.
"That's my job here, to create a bit of an impact."
"I've got to do as much as I can in that timeframe and do a good job."
One thing is for certain, though. Hess won't be intimidated by the occasion.
"Last year we were underdogs and we all saw how that turned out," he said. "We believe in ourselves and know what we're capable of."