Kevvie: Maroons' self-belief is at an all-time high
MAROONS coach Kevin Walters was notably confident going into State of Origin game one, but says self-belief has reached an even greater level for game two.
The Maroons completed their captain's run on Saturday without a drama, with key trio Dylan Napa, Dane Gagai and Daly Cherry-Evans cleared of injury and illness to run out for Origin's Perth Optus Stadium debut.
Napa will have his broken wrist heavily strapped, Gagai has overcome flu-like symptoms and Cherry-Evans will put aside shoulder soreness in a bid to pilot the Maroons to an unassailable 2-0 lead before a 60,000 sellout.
While the Blues have carved up their squad, making seven changes, the Maroons are humming along with Walters saying their 18-14 triumph in game one has only bolstered their collective confidence.
"The belief in this team is something else, it has gone to a new level this week," Walters said.
"We've had a great week's preparation.
"Certainly there were a few things we had to work on and improve on. We have done that.
"The trust, everything, they have come together beautifully again.
"We've had a couple of new players (Jarrod Wallace and Tim Glasby) come into the side but they have welded on to what is a great Queensland team and we are looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow night.
"The guys got a lot of trust from game one, their performance there. They have a lot of trust in themselves and belief in what they can do here tomorrow night."
Walters allayed any fears around star fullback Kalyn Ponga, who left the training paddock briefly on Wednesday for treatment on his left calf before returning to practise some goalkicking.
"Kalyn is fine," Walters said.
"He's just had a lot of football this year, he is running a lot of kilometres so we backed him off, but he's right to go, it looks like it is going to be a fast track."
Walters said Napa's injury would not restrict his minutes as a starting prop and he backed Wallace to fire off interchange in his recall to the side after being axed for Origin I.
"Dylan doesn't run on his hands so he will be fine," Walters said.
"Once the adrenaline starts pumping through his veins we will see Dylan's best performance at Origin level.
"Wallace will show them (the critics) tomorrow night, he's been really good all week with his preparation.
"He's another player who is obviously very important on our bench tomorrow night, to come on and continue the momentum that our starters create, I have no problem whatsoever, he is going to be really good for us.
"We certainly want to start better. We need to get out of the blocks better and we will do that tomorrow night."