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'People have lots of opinions': Walters

A jubilant Kevin Walters relaxed in the dressing sheds following last night's 18-12 victory at Suncorp Stadium, brushing off criticism of his young Maroons team.

"People have lots of opinions. That's par for the course," said Walters.

"We've got a lot of respect for our players and thought we got better as the series went on, from Game I to Game II, to tonight to get the win.

"We like to support (our players) and back them up."

Dressing shed interview: Kevin Walters

For the full interview, click on the embedded video.

Walters also detailed how the win would be important for the core group of players going forward.

He highlighted the fact that players in key positions, like Cameron Munster, had played just four Origin games and were destined to only improve further.

"We really needed to get something out of this year's series," said Walters

"We put some really good performances together (earlier in the 2018 campaign) but hadn't got it right over 80 minutes.

"We needed that win to build a bit of confidence within the group for years to come.

"To get something out of it ... we deserved it."

Tributes to retiring fullback and skipper Billy Slater flowed thick and fast over the course of the week, and Walters delivered a heartfelt presentation of his own to Slater after fulltime.

He thanked the Innisfail legend for putting his body through another year of Origin and drew attention to the stellar job he had done mentoring heir apparent Kalyn Ponga.

"We loved having (Billy) around the team," Walters said.

"He's been a real shining light.

"The best thing was that, in Game II, Billy and Kalyn Ponga were like brothers.

"Hopefully a lot of that Billy magic has been passed on down to the next generation of Queensland stars.

"Certainly Kalyn has given us every indication that he'll be part of next year's group as well."