Bundy boy makes Origin debut and impresses the locals
FOR local Bundaberg Rugby League players and coaches the message is simple as Queensland prepares to wrap up this year's State of Origin next month against New South Wales.
We want to see more of our Bundy boy Coen Hess.
The latest State of Origin player from the region only got 19 minutes of action as the Maroons came back from 10 points down at half time to win 18-16.
The North Queensland Cowboy was kept on the bench until later in the game by Maroons coach Kevin Walters as he made 14 tackles, 16 metres, and provided valuable defence during Queensland's late resurgence.
And Hess's performance impressed BRL chairman Mike Ireland who watched the game in Bundaberg.
"For the time he got he didn't make any mistakes,” he said.
"He should be proud and happy with his game.”
The chairman also defended Kevin Walters' decision to put him on so late in the game.
"It's pretty hard to play catch-up when New South Wales were up 16-6 by putting on new and young forwards,” he said.
"New South Wales also got a bit of a roll on in the second half which wasn't ideal either to put him in.”
Former Origin player and current The Waves coach Antonio Kaufusi also watched Hess play but disagreed with Ireland about when he should have been used.
"I would have liked to have seen him on right before half time,” he said.
"But he did not look over-awed and the way they used him really helped win the game.”
Both now hope Hess can keep his spot and get more game time.
"The final game will be a completely different story,” Ireland said.
"It will be a different occasion with supporters on Queensland's side which should allow Walters to use him more.
"He can only improve from the experience and he did exactly what he had to do,” Kaufusi said.
If he does get more time then Isis Devils captain Jake Thompson hopes they utilise his attack.
For Thompson that was his only criticism of the 20-year-old.
"I thought in some ways he was a bit shocked out there at times but he played outstanding,” he said.
"He can create more damage in attack so I hope he can get more minutes to show that.
"I've got to say though it is awesome seeing a Bundy boy represent Queensland.”
Hess will find out before July 12 if he has been selected for the final game.