Hess urges pack mentality before Panthers clash
COEN Hess insists the Cowboys haven't bought into the hype surrounding their all-star pack before a crunch home test against a massive Penrith side on Thursday.
Cowboys coach Paul Green blasted his team's attitude and effort after last week's 30-14 loss to Melbourne in the grand final rematch, suggesting his team "stop reading headlines for a start".
North Queensland, in particular their forwards, were subject to constant hype in the lead-up to the season.
But Hess and Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan are adamant it isn't the reason behind their slower-than-expected start.
"I don't think so, no, I don't think we do (read the headlines)," Morgan said.
"I can only speak for myself and it doesn't really bother me what others are saying.
"We've had that expectation in the past on our club, so it hasn't changed.
"We spoke about the grand final and dealt with it and moved on with it. It's not something we speak about every week to give us motivation.
"I don't think there's a hangover of such, we have to get back to doing the basic things right and the effort areas."
Asked if it's easy to look at the big names in the pack and expect things to happen easily, Hess said: "You look around and you feel confident out there, we've got some pretty good players that can have a large impact on the game, but if we get caught in that mindset it's not good for anyone.
"I'm not sure exactly what it is, we show glimpses of what we're capable of and we need to do that for 80 minutes.
"He (Green) knows what we're capable of and it's frustrating (when we perform like that).
"We get frustrated as players and he's at the helm, I understand why he gets like that."
Hess' dominant return to the starting back row was a welcome positive for the Cowboys.
The 21-year-old, who made his Origin debut last year, scored both of North Queensland's tries and finished with 135 metres from 16 runs, six tackle breaks and three line breaks.
"I guess you can always improve. I know I can work on my defence a lot more and I'm getting better at it," Hess said.
"Contact-wise I can be stronger, and it's something I need to work on.
"(Storm five-eighth) Cameron Munster is obviously a lot faster than me and put me under the pump a few times.
"We showed what we can do in the second half, we got back into the arm wrestle and had them under a bit of pressure on their line. We have to focus on doing that for longer periods."