Coen Hess has been ruled out for the 2024 NRL season after scans confirmed he has torn his ACL.

The injury was suspected after Hess was taken from the field during the North Queensland Cowboys' final trial match over the weekend against the Canberra Raiders.

The club confirmed in a short statement on Thursday morning that scans have now confirmed the usually reliable hands test for an ACL injury, with Hess to miss the entire season as a result.

General recovery lengths for a torn ACL range from nine to twelve months, meaning that even in the best case scenario, Hess may have a disrupted preparation ahead of his return to rugby league in 2025.

The injury will serve as another hit to the Cowboys' depth in the forwards, and to their experience, with Hess likely having been in the mix to start in the front row prior to his injury.

Formerly a second-rower, Hess has become a middle forward in recent years with the emergence of the likes of Jeremiah Nanai, Heilum Luki and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki at the club.

The trio will form the second-row rotation, however, with Luciano Leilua recently being released to the St George Illawarra Dragons, it means Hess may have also featured on the edge at points throughout the season.

Jack Gosiewski now becomes the likely next man up on the edge, while Hess being taken out of the middle of the park means Reuben Cotter will need a new front-row starting partner, likely being Griffin Neame.

His minutes will then need to be taken from the bench, with Thomas Mikaele recently being upgraded to the Top 30 and likely to feature after a strong performance during the pre-season trial matches.

The Cowboys open their season on March 10 during the final game of Round 1 against the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium.