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Cowboy Hess surprised by Qld Origin talk

Rising North Queensland NRL star Coen Hess admits he doesn't have a clue whether he is ready this year for State of Origin duty.

But the 20-year-old Cowboys back-rower says he must improve his game if he is to remain in contention for a whirlwind Maroons debut.

Already touted as an Origin bolter for next month's series opener, Hess has four games to nail down a Maroons jersey, starting with Saturday's clash with Newcastle.

After an impressive season start, the 114kg powerhouse has some high-profile fans including Queensland coach Kevin Walters.

Maroons captain Cameron Smith has become the latest to jump on the Hess bandwagon, saying the 20-year-old had pretty much ensured his name would be discussed at the Origin selection table.

Even Hess is surprised he has been earmarked for Origin after just a handful of NRL starts.

"In the pre-season, I was no certainty even to crack the (Cowboys) 17 so, yeah, it is a bit of a surprise," he said.

"It's good to get praise but, in saying that, you have to keep level headed.

"My main focus is the Cowboys."

Asked if he was ready for Origin, Hess said: "I am not too sure. I've obviously not been out there.

"I have grown up watching it since I can remember.

"But I wouldn't have a clue, to be honest."

However, Hess claimed he had to turn his game around to stay in the Origin mix after a frustrating last-round display.

Hess ran 116m metres in an 80-minute effort but was still kicking himself for his defensive misses in North Queensland's loss to St George Illawarra.

"I have still got room for improvement," Hess said.

"Last week, I think defensively, I was a bit off which led to a few tries down our edge.

"Come Saturday, we will be looking to really make amends."

© AAP 2017

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