Kevin Walters

Walters ready for Origin 'war'

Walters named his team on Monday, including Daly Cherry-Evans - still recovering from ankle surgery - alongside three debutants for the June 5 opener in Brisbane.

Despite the presence of new names on the team sheet, the coach is determined that the Maroons will be ready to beat the Blues, expressing his confidence ahead of the game at Suncorp Stadium.

"I'm ready, we are ready. This is war," Walters said. "This Queensland team is going to be so well prepared for this match.

Lockyer: Walters decision will boost Maroons

Walters is a selector as well as a coach of the Maroons side and said in a statement that the "perception of my impartiality" was one of the reasons why he decided to remove himself from a club role.

Walters attended the launch of the 2018 Holden State of Origin Series in Melbourne on Tuesday where he said: "the level of interest at the media conference reinforced how privileged I am to be the head coach of a Maroons team which means so much to the people of Queensland."

'Humble' Maroons lash Blues walk-off

Speaking after the last-gasp 18-14 loss in a series they had already wrapped up after two games, skipper Cameron Smith was tight-lipped about Blues players not hanging around for the end of the formalities to do a lap of the ground thanking fans.

In a response to outgoing Blues captain Paul Gallen's labelling of Queenslanders earlier in the week as poor winners, Smith added that he felt the Maroons playing group has been humble right throughout its 11 years of Origin dominance.

Cam Smith 'the greatest ever leader'

Smith had another outstanding night in the Maroon, collecting his sixth Origin man of the match award and in the process closing within two of Queensland legend Wally Lewis's record of eight. 

The Australian hooker guided the Maroons to their 10th Origin series win in 11 years on Wednesday night, with Smith celebrating his fourth series win in five years as captain of the side. 

It's just another accolade to Smith's name in what is becoming one of rugby league's most decorated careers. 

The man the Maroons fear most

At every opportunity during his 11-minute interview Walters spoke glowingly of the Blues' No.1 and the threat he poses to the Maroons' bid to wrap up the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

Despite showing a vulnerability under the high ball at club level and coming up with what could have been a calamitous fumble in the in-goal in Game One, Moylan is the man the Maroons have singled out as key to the NSW attack in what both coaches are predicting will be a more open style of game than was witnessed in Game One.

Walters starts his coaching career with a win

Having played 20 Origins for the Maroons, Walters knows a thing or two about what it means to represent the sunshine state, as well as the impact the team's success has on the greater community. 

In his role as coach, Walters has heard it all from criticism about his ageing squad to the difficulties associated with playing in Sydney, but watched on with pride as his champion team etched another win on their rapidly-growing tally. 

"I'm just so happy for this group of players," a very proud Maroons coach said after the game. 

Queensland's Cooper Cronk will decide his own fitness hours out from series opener

Cronk surprised onlookers on Tuesday when he ran out with the Maroons' squad for their only training session at Sydney's Olympic stadium ahead of the State of Origin opener.

While he is not certain Cronk would be fit to play, Walters remains confident the half-back would make the cut - but the final call will be left to the man himself.

"I will let Cooper make the call. He is big enough to work out whether he can get through 80 minutes of Origin," Walters said.

"He's quietly confident he can play. But tomorrow, we have to make a decision," he said.