Memo: Queensland coach Kevin Walters. Just a quiet tip ... Coen Hess is ready for State of Origin.
The 114kg monster last night submitted his most compelling case yet for a maiden Maroons jumper, terrorising the Titans to give the Cowboys bragging rights in the Queensland derby.
With Walters watching on as a commentator, Hess didn't so much tap on the Queensland selection door as smash it down as the Cowboys prevailed 32-26 at Cbus Super Stadium.
The 20-year-old is likened in looks to Rocky IV character Ivan Drago and he delivered the knockout blows, posting a double to end North Queensland's six-year drought on the Gold Coast.
It was a night for the rookies, with debutant winger Gideon Gela-Mosby and freakish fullback Kalyn Ponga, who turns 19 this week, each touching down.
But Hess delivered the coup de grace, carrying four defenders across the try-line in the 61st minute before spearing through 10 minutes later to leave the Titans on the canvas.
The Maroons are on the lookout for fresh blood this season. Corey Parker has retired.
Injured Cowboys enforcer Matt Scott is gone for the season and his Maroons engine-room partner, Nate Myles, is struggling for form.
Enter Hess. His bullocking frame would give NSW nightmares off the bench and when he scored the matchwinner on Saturday night, Maroons legend Gary Belcher roared in commentary: "Kevvie is scribbling in his Maroons notebook."
The back-rower now has nine tries in 13 NRL games, injecting the forward power on a night where Johnathan Thurston and Ponga produced the backline panache.
While Walters is sure to have Hess on his radar, Cowboys coach Paul Green cautioned against throwing him into the Origin cauldron.
"Coen is still learning," Green said.
"He's tailor-made for Origin and definitely one day he will play it ... but it might be a bit early this year.
"I don't know if I'm surprised by it (his form). We all know the potential he's got, he answers the challenge every time we put one to him."
The Cowboys weren't at their best but they were never really troubled, leading 20-12 at half-time before Hess helped nail the coffin shut after the break.
The visitors basically owned the first 40 minutes - remarkably completing all 18 sets - but the 2015 premiers are not without flaws.
Exhibit A was a 10-minute period midway through the opening stanza when Green's troops simply switched off.
The Titans had two genuine red-zone opportunities. Both times they converted for a shock 12-10 lead after half an hour - and it took some magic from two young guns to arrest the slide.
Speedy winger Gideon Gela-Mosby crossed in his debut before Thurston delivered a superb inside ball for Ponga, who scored the first try of his career for an eight-point lead at the break.
"You can tell by his performances, he's cool, calm and collected," Thurston said.
"Coen knows how to read the game and we all know the potential he's got, he has a big future."
NORTH QUEENSLAND 32 (C Hess 2 G Gela-Mosby K Ponga J Thurston tries J Thurston 6 goals) bt GOLD COAST 26 (D Copley 2 T Roberts T Roberts-Davis D Vidot tries A Taylor 3 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Referees: Grant Atkins, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 17,647.