My performances not up to scratch, says Hess
Maroons and Cowboys second-rower Coen Hess says his own form needs to improve if North Queensland are to snap a four-game losing streak following last week's defeat in Canberra.
Hess said the team couldn't use the below-freezing temperatures against the Raiders or the effect of the State of Origin series as an excuse.
"This year I haven't been playing that well so obviously I have a few weeks now to hopefully find some form and get a few wins towards the back end of the year," Hess said.
"It was really cold, tough conditions, but no excuses for our performance that's for sure."
Hess was coming off the back of a tough Origin period but said his goal is to be able to still put out a good performance, regardless of fatigue.
"For myself I didn't really perform as well as I needed to in Canberra but it's no excuse really, the fatigue factor," he said.
"Being young I have to learn… my performances after Origin were nowhere near up to standard compared to some of the other boys that had played in Origin."
As the Cowboys prepare to face the third-placed Dragons this week, five-eighth Te Maire Martin said he was looking forward to the challenge being presented by young five-eighth Jake Clifford.
Coach Paul Green suggested this week Clifford was a strong chance of earning a first-grade debut this season and Martin said he was looking forward to seeing the 20-year-old play.
"It's always healthy for any club you're at to have a bit of competition and he's going really well Jake Clifford, he's really knocking on the door to get a debut," Martin said.
"I believe it will come shortly, hopefully, because he's a very good player and we'll see what happens with that."
While Martin is looking forward to seeing Clifford get his chance in the NRL, he conceded he'd have to work hard to keep his name in the top 17.
"If you're slipping up now, there's a lot of people knocking at the door [to play NRL] there's not too many second chances," he said.
"For myself it is [about keeping my spot] and having the pride in the jersey and in the club and our players."