Hess, Morgan, Cooper ready for Warriors
North Queensland Cowboys State of Origin representatives Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess have been given two days of rest to refresh them ahead of taking on a New Zealand side that has had fast starts in the previous weeks.
After playing a small stint in Origin II, interchange backrower Coen Hess made 230 metres against the Penrith Panthers in Round 16, and scored a try against the South Sydney Rabbitohs last week.
The backrower with 11 tries to his name, the most out of any Cowboys player this season, is ready to take on the massive Warriors pack this weekend.
"I'm feeling really refreshed I think those two days off really helped me just to recover and sort of get a bit of that fatigue out of the system. I felt really good out there today and I'm looking forward to tomorrow night," Hess said.
"Just the intensity of everything you do (in Origin), whether it be on the field or off the field, is a big step up. That's something I really learnt during the two Origin camps I was a part of so I guess I'm just trying to bring a bit of that back to my game here at the Cowboys."
Hess' recent move into the middle in an effort to develop his endurance and defensive ability has largely been successful, with the extra minutes translating to extra metres.
"We're expecting a pretty physical game, they've got some pretty big outside backs, well they've got big players in every position actually, so we're expecting a very physical game," he said.
Coach Paul Green is looking forward to seeing Hess' development as the competition progresses into the last few rounds of the regular season.
"I think the real tell of [Hess' development] will be how he plays in those next few games. Sometimes they might feel confident and feel good but there's also that emotional letdown too because it is such a big high of playing Origin," Green said.
"He seems to be good so far so we'll see how he plays in the game on the weekend and see how he copes with that but he's handled most things in his stride so far so I don't expect that it will be a problem."
The compliment from Green was followed by the coach's conclusion that Hess will be made better for the experience of playing alongside players such as Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.