Bundy Cowboy can’t wait to play in front of family and friends

Bundy's Coen Hess is looking forward to coming back home to play in the NRL for the first time in Bundy. Pictures: NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

By Shane Jones

North Queensland Cowboy, Bundaberg’s Coen Hess didn’t find out about playing at home next year until he received a phone call from a special person – his nanna.

The Cowboys forward, barring injury and form, will return home next year on 7 August to play against the Canterbury Bulldogs at Salter Oval.

He will become the first Bundaberg-born player to play in a game at home for NRL premiership points.

“I’m really excited and hopefully we inspire some kids to inspire them to play,” Hess told Bundaberg Today.

“I think it’s great what the NRL is doing, expose the game to smaller regional towns.

“It’s great to give back to all the supporters, for us to come to them, especially as a lot come to see us.

“It’s great for the game.”

Hess found out he was playing in Bundaberg through his nanna as she called the 25-year-old.

“She found out straight away and has already asked for tickets and for me sort out some for her,” he said.

Hess said about 80 per cent of his family members were still in Bundaberg and he expected most of them to cheer him on as he played at home.

“Yeah that certainly be nice (to see them cheering),” Hess said.

“I remember this year when we had the Maroons fan day in Bundaberg, I had a lot family come down and say g’day.”

Hess couldn’t remember if he’d played at Salter Oval before. He played in Bundaberg for The Waves until he moved to Townsville as a young kid.

But he has memories of his father playing there, and he can’t wait to follow in his footsteps.

“I remember watching my dad play, it’s my most fond memory of there,” Hess said.

“He’s (dad) really excited (for me to play in Bundy), I’m sure both mum and dad will get some time off.”

Just like his father inspiring him, Hess hopes he can do the same for hundreds of kids watching in Bundaberg and anywhere around the country.

But his goal for next year is to make sure he can make the Maroons’ 17 again and have on-field success for the Cowboys.

Hess was 18th man for Queensland in all three matches this year, missing out on playing after making one appearance last year.

“Post-Christmas I’ll write up some goals,” he said.

Hess said the team had recruited well, with a good mix of experienced players and young players.

He hoped the experience put into the youngsters last season could also help the team go to the top.

More information on what the Cowboys and Hess will do in the lead-up to the clash will be released in the next few months.