Coen Hess doesn't know if his move to the front row will be permanent but believes it suits his game at least for now as the Cowboys chase rare back-to-back wins.
After starting the season 0-4, last Sunday's 34-30 victory against the Wests Tigers came as a massive relief for North Queensland.
"To get a win in a way probably put to bed a lot of the [external] BS, you could call it," Hess told reporters leading into this Sunday's clash with the winless Bulldogs at QCB Stadium in Townsville.
Records show Hess hasn't started at prop in his 101-game NRL career but that will change this week with coach Todd Payten assigning him the No.8 jersey after his switch to the engine room.
Playing in the middle itself is not foreign to Hess, who started at lock against the Tigers, and he's embracing his new role despite earning Queensland Origin selection as a second-rower just last year.
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"I'm really enjoying it at the moment but I haven't really spoken to Toddy about it long term at the moment. It's only a recent move but I've played there before and I'm confident in the role," Hess said.
"I got a taste of it last weekend, I had a 25-minute stint [in the front row]. I think it really complements the best parts of my game and I think that's probably why Toddy's put me in there.
"Kick-pressure, pressuring the halfback, a bit of line-speed as well," he added when asked what he brings to the position.
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"And I get a rest as well, so I think that's probably a good thing for myself. I like to just get out there and go 100 miles an hour.
"I think I can leave myself a bit cooked there at times.
"[Payten] is just trying to keep it simple for me, that's probably the best thing about it. It's a pretty simple role. I think back row is more of a specialist-type position now the way the game's going."
Not since round three of 2020 have the Cowboys saluted in consecutive games but they're now well placed to do so.
"I think everyone came in with a bit of a spring in their step this week. We trained really well out there today which is good signs moving forward," Hess said.
"I think [Canterbury] will like their chances coming up here.
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"We haven't been too good at home and we understand that.
"It's about starting fast, just like we did on the weekend, but a theme for us this week would be an 80-minute performance."
Powerhouse lock Jason Taumalolo (hand) is set to return and give North Queensland's pack a hefty boost.
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And while former captain Michael Morgan announced his medical retirement last week due to a chronic shoulder injury, the premiership-winning playmaker is still involved with the squad.
Morgan trained with the club's second team - dubbed the "Renegades" - in an opposed session against the Telstra Premiership side.
"To have a guy of Morgs' calibre running against us, it keeps the main team honest and really helps us with our preparation," Hess said.
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