Following a stellar first grade performance, Kurt Capewell has paid tribute to his high-flying Jets on delivering his chance in the spotlight.
To many, Capewell burst onto the scene in a sensational performance on Saturday, as the Sharks came from behind to defeat the Raiders in a high-quality Qualifying Final in the nation’s capital. After key man Wade Graham went down with a concussion in the eighth minute, the 23-year-old had big shoes to fill in just his third NRL appearance – but stepped up perfectly with 135 metres and 39 tackles coming from his 73 minutes on the field.
“It was a bit of a surprise, I wasn’t expecting to come on that early,” Capewell told NSWRL.com.au. “I was grateful at the same time that I get the opportunity to get a few more minutes and I just jumped straight into it as I do.
“I’ve trained pretty hard all season but it wasn’t just a solo effort. We had Matt Prior and Fifita made everyone’s jobs a bit easier.”
Having played in both the QRL’s and NSWRL’s premier competitions, however, Capewell’s NRL chance has been a long time coming.
The versatile second-rower, who has also spent time in the centres for Newtown this season, arrived at Henson Park following some eye-catching form for the Ipswich Jets in 2015. Winning the premiership and NRL State Championship for the Ipswich side that year, Capewell took his performances to another level in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and earned a nomination for the Player Of The Year award at last night’s Brad Fittler Medal. With Newtown now just one win away from a Grand Final, Capewell attributes the team’s form to developing him individually.
“We’ve been playing really good footy,” Capewell said. “It’s been a pleasure playing with them and it’s definitely developed my game under Matto (Jets coach Greg Matterson) as well.”
The Jets come up against the Illawarra Cutters this Sunday at Leichhardt Oval and will go in as marginal underdogs against the team that finished second. Following an impressive 22-18 win against the Warriors last weekend, however, Capewell is satisfied that they can emerge victorious – whether he’s a part of the side or not.
“From the performance on the weekend – I went out and watched – they played unbelievable,” Capewell said. “Their completion rate, defence, middle was outstanding, so I think if we can get in the arm wrestle then we’ll definitely win the match.
“I’ve been happy to bide my time here at Cronulla because I’ve got such good players in front of me. I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had so far this year and looking to hopefully get many more minutes to come.”
Witness history this September at the 2016 NSWRL Grand Final Day. On Sunday, 25 September the Intrust Super Premiership NSW decider, along with the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield Grand Finals, take place at Pirtek Stadium, with tickets just $10 for adults and kids under 12 free. Click here to secure your seat.