Luai ready to repay Fittler's faith in Origin I

Jarome Luai knows he's a bit of gamble to start at five-eighth for the NSW Blues.

Despite his electric start to the NRL season, the slight on the Penrith Panthers No.6 has been a lack of State of Origin experience.

But for what Luai lacks, his seamless combination with Nathan Cleary made it impossible for Brad Fittler and Blues selectors to ignore the Panther for Origin I - with the 22-year-old edging out Jack Wighton and Cody Walker for the No. 6 jersey.

Reigning Dally M Medallist Wighton will instead play as bench utility while Walker, who has four Origin caps, did not make the Blues' cut for the June 9 series opener.

Luai admits a "bit of trust" has been instilled in him as the Blues look to take back the series, because recognition takes time in the Origin arena.

"That's why I understood if I was a bit of a gamble for coach to pick, just because I don't have too much experience," Luai told ESPN.

"I'm just really grateful and happy to be here with the boys."

Luai is one of six Panthers named in Fittler's 19-man outfit, with teammates Brian To'o and Liam Martin also set to make their Origin debut on Wednesday week.

Having helped lead Penrith to a 11-0 start to the season, Luai is confident he can take his club form to the next level and said his combination with Cleary has aided his readiness.

"Just that combination with him. He's going to let me do what I do at club level," Luai said.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence right now, he's one of the best players in the competition. He knows I've got his back in whatever he does on the field, I just can't wait to get out there and compete.

"I don't have to change too much [to take club form to Origin], I just have to do what got me here and play with that flair and confidence that I do at Penrith. Not getting frightened by the occasion.

"Having Nathan and a lot of the boys here from Penrith will allow me to do that, we have good players around us as well so we just have to do our job."

Fittler delivered the news to Luai on Sunday morning, simply asking him "are you keen to come into camp?"

The choice between Luai and Wighton was one of the hardest for the Blues coach, but in the end Penrith's unbeaten form become too hard to ignore.

Although Wighton has proved himself at Origin level, Fittler said the decision to play him as bench utility allows him the freedom to unlock his running game.

"It was close [between Laui and Wighton]. It's hard to ignore what Penrith are doing at the moment," Fittler said.

"With Jack it might just be easy for him to go out and play footy. Not so much worry about the tactics and just allow him [to play].

"I always thought he is best when he is just running the ball hard and being aggressive. So that should give him the chance to do that."

Coming off the bench is a new role for the Canberra Raiders star, who has played in the centres for NSW since 2019.

But he's seeing it as a both a challenge, and a chance to put this season's Canberra chaos behind him.

"I always think about the club. I love the club and the boys down there, but this is a good chance to get away and refresh," Wighton said.

"There's a good vibe hanging around here, just use that you know? Just charge the batteries back up and get ready to go.