He represented his home state of Queensland and is on the verge of playing in his second straight final at the NRL major, but rugby league hasn’t always been Kurt Capwell’s only passion.
The second rowing of the Panthers originated in Charleville, a town 747 kilometers west of Brisbane, with a population of about 3,500 people.
He is the youngest of four children of Daryl and Lyn Capwell.
He loved swimming, cricket and just about every sport he could play – including polocross.
“The only club they didn’t participate in was the Gun Club, and it was right around the corner,” Kurt’s mother Lynn told ABC Sport.
Playing Polocross for Queensland.
“The whole family played polocross and it was a little tricky towards the end because they really hit the rugby league season.
“So they had to choose, rugby league or polocross, and of course rugby league was the passion.”
A decision that paid off
The 28-year-old has played 95 NFL games and has worn the Queensland Chestnut six times since his debut in the home country last year.
“It was a very hectic road for him on the outside, we went a lot of miles, a lot of travel to get him through junior football, and then he went to boarding school and since then he paved his really own way,” Lin said.
“They have gone [to boarding school at Ipswich Grammar] Years 11 and 12, all four boys, and that gave them a slightly broader view of life rather than getting off the farm and not even knowing how to get on a bus or train.”
Capewell joined the Panthers in November 2019 after spending four seasons with the Sharks.
Prior to that, he won the Queensland Cup with the Ipswich Jets in 2015, playing under Ben and Shane Walker.
A new chapter is on the horizon
Capewell will continue his NRL career again in Queensland next season after signing a three-year contract with the Brisbane Broncos.
Sunday’s grand final will be his last match for Penrith.
“I’m looking forward to [joining Brisbane] “Obviously I’d like to get the job done this year first before I worry about it too much,” the 28-year-old said.
“I kind of told myself a few weeks ago…it’s time for a crunch now and this is my best chance to make some memories with these boys.
“Something we’ve been working on for the past two years is building moments like this.
“We had the opportunity last year and didn’t get the goods, so it would be good to get the job done this year.”
Capewell is making preparations for Sunday day in and day out, but he said he was motivated by the chance to end his Panthers run as prime minister.
“I don’t think he likes the idea of leaving Penrith without success,” Lynn said.
“Kurt has a lot of respect for Evan Cleary. Evan gave him the chance to be a part of that professional band that they developed, as an outsider, because as you know half of that team are the little Penriths.
“So not only has Kurt come from the outback of Queensland to the walls of the Penrith community, he’s always given 100 per cent, he’s not going to leave anything in the tank that’s for sure.”
The Capwell family flock to Lang Park on the last big day
It would be hard to find someone who enjoys the Grand Final “at home” more than Capwell on Sunday night.
“It just amazed me that Queensland is going to be hosting a big final, it’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing and being a part of it is amazing,” he said.
“I have a few people come.”
Including Abi Daryl, who was on a barramundi fishing trip in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
“He was up up in Burketown, chasing a few Barra,” Capwell said.
“He just got back in time… he didn’t cut short his journey.
“My older brother is actually a supporter of the South, Liam, so he’ll be happy either way. But he’s definitely barracks for me this weekend.”
Lynn says about 20 family members will be arriving in Brisbane from Charleville this weekend.
Next year, they will be able to see their son play more often, and Lang Park will be his new home in the Broncos.
“We’re very looking forward to it,” Lynn said.
“He’s been in NSW for six years and as much as you try to come down and visit, once you’re on vacation it’s not going to be very easy.”