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He entered Game One espousing the virtues of positive thinking and now Maroons coach Kevin Walters believes his side's comeback win at Suncorp Stadium will elevate them to new heights for Game Two.

Trailing 8-0 at half-time against the team whose name shall not be spoken, Queensland got behind the efforts of Dylan Napa and Josh Papalii in the centre of the field to wrest control of the contest away from the Blues.

They didn't cross for their first try of the game until winger Corey Oates scored one-handed in spectacular fashion in the 52nd minute, two tries to man of the match Dane Gagai sealing an 18-14 win that puts them in prime position to wrest back interstate supremacy.

Talk in the lead-up to the series opener was dominated by the language used by Walters and in turn his players, the teachings of so-called 'Coach Whisperer' Bradley Charles Stubbs inspiring a far different pre-game narrative.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

And while he proclaimed that the belief of his players was a key factor in their victory Walters said what they achieved in 80 minutes is the greatest confidence-builder of all.

"The belief in the side," Walters said when asked what was the difference.

"Sure, a young side, we had three guys on debut at Suncorp and the crowd here as well were really special for the players.

"It's a positive [for their belief]. To win coming from behind at half-time, I thought that was a great result and a real confidence booster for our guys.

"The win always builds confidence but they know sitting in there now that they need to be better for game two."

Queensland had chances to post points in the first half but Oates put a foot into touch and Napa fumbled a loose ball in the in-goal, opportunities that usually came back to haunt you in the Origin arena.

But as the game wore on so too did the influence of the Maroons' spine, Kalyn Ponga providing the final pass for two tries and Cameron Munster terrorising the New South Wales defence with his vicious right-hand fend and crafty ballwork.

In his first game as captain Daly Cherry-Evans provided the steady hand that the opposition severely lacked while Ben Hunt made 53 tackles, played the full 80 minutes and made a case to be the Queensland No.9 for the foreseeable future.

As good as they were in taking ownership of the result, Walters knows there is far more to come.

Munster praises Maroons spine

"It was a little bit clunky at times, particularly with Ben Hunt as well," Walters conceded.

"It's the first time that those guys have played together so I thought for what they came up with was pretty exciting.

"A bit more training into us over in the west and we'll get better and we'll need to get better in all of those areas for us to go where we want to go.

"We've got a lot of work to do, we understand that. We're very respectful of tonight's win but there's certainly a lot more in this Queensland team… as well as the other side."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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