Pangai primed to make instant Origin impact: Fittler

He's been described as a hothead in the past but Brad Fittler is confident Tevita Pangai Jr can channel his aggression in the right way as the Canterbury wrecking ball bids to knock down the Queensland pack.

Pangai - the surprise Blues selection for the series opener - will make his State of Origin debut for NSW at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night.

Pangai's talent to play Origin has never been in doubt, but his temperament has been questioned in the past.

The Canterbury prop's early career was beset by suggestions he was reckless and couldn't be reined in.

But Fittler said Pangai, now 27, was primed to lead the Blues into battle alongside Payne Haas and win back the shield for NSW.

"He (Pangai) will start the game, he's our front-rower and I'll tell him to go hard, plain and simple," Fittler said.

"It's an opportunity for him.

"A lot of people think he'll play a certain way, he just needs to go out and do his best.

"Not many people pay attention to what he's been doing off the ball.

"He's upped his work rate and I'm really confident in him to get all that team stuff right."

Pangai will debut alongside Canberra back-rower Hudson Young in the pack, with Fittler keen to right the wrongs of last year and add a hardened edge to his side.

The Blues coach declined to discuss in depth how he wanted his players to react if, like in Origin III last year, an all-in brawl was to erupt.

"I'm really happy with the preparation, they've come together well," Fittler said.

"We don't worry about what's happened in the past.

"Whatever happens on the field we need to be in control and handle the situation."

Blues advisor Greg Alexander said they were "too nice" in last year's opener, which put them on the back foot and gave the Maroons the upperhand in the series.

In the build-up to Wednesday's opener, Fittler has been recycling the stat that 72 per cent of sides who win Origin I go on to lift the shield.

"It obviously means a lot for the first game," said NSW skipper James Tedesco.

"Having that advantage is nice going into the next two.

"We want to take advantage and have a great conference tomorrow (Wednesday) night."

Fittler has resisted the urge to shake up his backline following Latrell Mitchell's injury-enforced withdrawal, slotting Stephen Crichton straight into the left centre spot.

Cronulla halfback Nicho Hynes will see game time at hooker but Fittler said he had the ability to play anywhere across the backline if called upon.