Triumphant Maroons 'need to be better', says Walters

Kevin Walters is hoping Queensland Maroons can build on their opening 2019 State of Origin win, believing they need to improve despite beating New South Wales Blues.

The Maroons, beaten in last year's series, roared back from a disappointing first half to win 18-14 at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, with Dane Gagai scoring twice late on.

But coach Walters has not forgotten the difficult first 40 minutes Queensland endured, although he expects the experience will prove a positive for his side.

"The belief in the side [was key]," Walters said. "Sure, it's 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. 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 II."

He added: "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."

Gagai's two scores came down the NSW left, where Latrell Mitchell endured a tough outing and was sent to the sin bin for a key stretch of the second half.

Blues coach Brad Fittler said: "At times, it felt like [the players] were isolated out there. They put a lot of pressure on that side.

"Overall, [Mitchell] came in and in the second half you could see he got energised. But Queensland did a pretty good job in defending that side."

But Fittler was not yet ready to make any decision on a team selection for Origin II.

"They've got to go back and play for their clubs," he said. "The theory has always been that they've got to play well for their clubs. I expect them to go back and be good."

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