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