Saifiti set to take down Origin timber

New NSW prop Daniel Saifiti knows he has to lift his game to justify State of Origin selection.
New NSW prop Daniel Saifiti knows he has to lift his game to justify State of Origin selection.

Daniel Saifiti had originally planned to be facing the Cedars this weekend.

But fate now has him tasked with taking down some taller timber when he makes his debut for NSW in State of Origin II.

Saifiti completed his first field session with the Blues on Tuesday when Brad Fittler's squad had a two-hour run at Hale School in Perth.

It would've felt like a world away from Leichhardt Oval, where he was preparing to represent Fiji in their Test against Lebanon on Saturday.

"I had (an idea) of maybe getting picked for NSW, but it was also depending on whether I had any injuries from last weekend," Saifiti told AAP on Tuesday.

"It's obviously a massive change going from facing Lebanon to Queensland. But I'll definitely watch (Fiji). I'll watch all the Pacific Tests, and women's Origin too.

"I love watching all the footy games."

By Sunday, however, all eyes will be on the Newcastle enforcer labelled arguably the biggest Blues bolter in Origin history.

Fittler were on the lookout for a new prop after star front-rower David Klemmer injured his wrist in the opening game and was ruled out for up to six weeks.

A number of candidates were tossed up, from 2018 pick Reagan Campbell-Gillard, the untested Matt Lodge, or even veteran James Tamou.

Instead the Blues hierarchy went with another Novocastrian in Saifiti, who got the nod following a public endorsement from Klemmer himself.

And while the advice has poured in from all corners, Saifiti said it is the words of wisdom from Klemmer that meant the most.

"He's one of my good mates and obviously I took his spot, so he was one of the first people I talked to once I found out," Saifiti said.

"He just said 'Don't be overawed by it'.

"I'm here for a reason. I've got the best players in NSW around me, so he just told me to do what I've been doing for Newcastle, but turn up the ante more.

"It meant the world to get his backing. I mean, he knows what I can bring and he believes my playing style would be useful in the Origin arena."

Saifiti, who has played three Tests for the Bati, isn't the only Blue with Fijian blood.

St George Illawarra hitman Tariq Sims, who has been recalled to the Blues' bench after missing game one, has also made three appearances for the island nation.

The pair are expected to provide most of the fireworks from the Blues pack.

"I was pinching myself when I first got into camp," Saifiti said.

"As soon as I spoke with Freddie (Fittler), he told me I was starting so I know I've got to be physical. That was his main message. I've already asked for the first hit up."

Australian Associated Press