Assistant Maroons coach Kevin Walters.
Assistant Maroons coach Kevin Walters. Brett Wortman

League legend Walters says experienced Maroons will deliver

THE day will come when Queensland's current veterans will no longer be up to the challenge of taking on the Blues in State of Origin.

But it won't be tomorrow according to Queensland attack coach and Ipswich league legend Kevin Walters.

Walters, speaking from Queensland camp in Melbourne ahead of State of Origin II at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, believes the Maroons' big match experience will deliver an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

But he knows they will have to be better than they were in game one, because he is certain NSW will be.

When asked where Queensland were targeting to improve on game one, Walters said, "Getting the ball over the line".

"There are some areas we need to get better at," he said, keen not to leak too many secrets.

"Statistics say we did a lot of things right in game one.

"We have to give some respect to NSW and their defence.

"They're hard to score against and I don't see Wednesday being any different."

If anything they will be even harder to score against with Paul Gallen's return to the Blues line-up.

"He led them last year extremely well," Walters said.

"And with Brett Morris on the wing they'll definitely be a lot stronger.

"It's a challenge for our blokes to rise above."

Photos have emerged of fellow Queensland assistant coaches Allan Langer and Trevor Gillmeister in a Melbourne Casino, with NSW media suggesting it represents Queensland's arrogant approach.

But history suggests the Queenslanders know how to get the balance right between creating a relaxed environment and getting the job done.

"Mal likes to keep things relaxed," Walters said.

"But the players understand what it takes to get ready. Some of them have been there for nearly 10 years in key positions."

Walters didn't buy into the theory the Maroons may struggle to match the desperate intensity of the Blues, knowing they have the safety net of game three in Brisbane if they lose tomorrow.

"I wouldn't have thought so," Walters said.

"I'm not sure how many times Queensland have been 2-0 up, or NSW for that matter. Not many.

"So it is extremely important for both teams. We'll be treating it as though it is still nil-all."

Walters knows the day is getting closer that Maroons veterans such as Cameron Smith, Corey Parker and Jonathan Thurston will lose their ability to influence the big games.

But he warned the NSW fans who hope it will be this year.

"That day hasn't come around yet," Walters said.


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