Coen Hess is looking forward to a big year.
Coen Hess is looking forward to a big year.

Hess back on track after tough 2019 season

THE Hess Express is back on track.

North Queensland Cowboys young gun Coen Hess has burst back to life in Townsville following a horror 2019 campaign.

Hess has "trained the house down" after a forgettable 2019 NRL season where his form dipped and he was dropped from the Queensland Origin side.

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Hess, 23, announced himself as a star of the future in 2017 when he scored 13 tries in 27 games as the Cowboys cruised to the NRL grand final and was picked for Queensland.

But he has stagnated over the past two years and had a season to forget last year, scoring one try in 22 games as the Cowboys slumped to 14th spot on the ladder.

A bulldozing back-rower, Hess wasn't helped by being forced to play in the centres as the Cowboys battled an injury crisis.

His plight was summed up when television cameras captured coach Paul Green roasting Hess during a half-time break.

Esan Marsters and Coen Hess train together in Townsville. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Esan Marsters and Coen Hess train together in Townsville. Picture: Alix Sweeney

But Hess is back training in his preferred position this year and the Cowboys are expecting the five-game Maroons representative to have a big season.

"I couldn't tell you any one thing that happened to him last year," said Cowboys football boss Peter Parr.

"I've seen plenty of young players over the years that have had a really good start to their careers then stagnated a little bit.

"The really good ones have bounced back and we think he is one of the really good ones.

"Our expectation is that he will bounce back and if he does his career trajectory will be the same as a lot of other players who have jumped out of the gates really well then had a year that didn't go their way.

"They learn from it and bounce back. It's happened to a lot of sportspeople in a lot of different codes."

With 81 NRL appearances next to his name, Hess is no longer a rookie coming through the ranks.

The Cowboys need their young forwards to stand up this year following the retirements of long-term props Matt Scott and Scott Bolton.

And Hess has shown he is ready to bounce back in 2020.

"He has trained the house down," Parr said.

"He is a terrific bloke, a great trainer and talented footy player. He's got all the tools.

"I expect that last year will end up being a good learning curve for him and he will bounce back and play his best footy. I really believe that."