Broncos set to swoop on Penrith Origin hero
Queensland Origin hero Kurt Capewell could make a shock move to the Brisbane Broncos next year as the Panthers utility faces being squeezed out of Penrith.
On the eve of Thursday night's Broncos-Panthers showdown at Suncorp Stadium, The Courier-Mail can reveal Capewell has been in discussions with Brisbane for months about a move to Red Hill in 2022.
Capewell's rise to the State of Origin arena last year and Penrith's blossoming roster of emerging talent has created salary cap pressure at the Panthers.
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Capewell could pocket upwards of $450,000-a-season on his next contract and his agent, former Queensland fullback Clinton Schifcofske, revealed the Broncos were a serious contender.
"Kurt has a bit of interest from a few clubs and we are working through things now," Schifcofske said. "We have assured Penrith we will go back to them before we do anything.
"A return to Queensland definitely appeals to him. He will weigh up all options and see what's on the table.
"The Broncos showed some interest in the pre-season. We met with them but unfortunately the deal wasn't the right deal at the time. Kurt backed himself to start the season well and that's exactly what he has done off the back of Origin.
"I'm hopeful the Broncos will come back to us. He would be perfect for the Broncos, he is exactly what they need, an edge back-rower who is versatile and a leader.
"The Broncos have a lot of young forwards so to have an experienced leader who has played Origin and is a Queensland kid, it would be a good fit for the club. He has been playing great footy in the starting back-row for the Panthers five weeks in a row.
"Penrith want to keep him but Kurt isn't going to get what he is worth. They have to spend a fair bit of their cap to keep (Jarome) Luai, (Stephen) Crichton, Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin, so there mightn't be much left over for Kurt."
Capewell, 27, hails from Charleville in central Queensland and came through Brisbane's under-20s system. He caught the eye of Cronulla while starring for Ipswich in the Intrust Super Cup when the Jets won the 2015 premiership and national title.
Capewell played 64 NRL games for the Sharks from 2016-19 before joining Penrith in 2020 and he will make his 79th NRL appearance at Suncorp Stadium.
Capewell overcame a painful groin injury to star for Queensland on debut last year, producing a remarkable Game One performance to help the Maroons set up a memorable Origin series victory.
Penrith premiership lock Scott Sattler said Capewell could make an ideal No.13.
"I love him, I have always liked him as a player," he said.
"I watched a lot of him in the Intrust Super Cup when the Ipswich Jets won the national title and he went through a stage where you weren't quite sure what position he should play.
"He is still only young in rugby league terms so moving forward I think he is a really good No.13 like Isaah Yeo (Panthers captain). I'm a big fan of his.
"Watching him play Origin last year was great because he deserved it and watching him play through pain was even better.
"He is a tremendous player and even better guy from a really good family."
Former Broncos captain Sam Thaiday said Capewell's natural instincts made him a threat in the structured NRL.
"The thing I love about him is he came through the Intrust Super Cup system under the Walker brothers (Shane and Ben)," he said.
"He already had a lot of those skills, but the Walker boys gave him an opportunity to be himself on the footy field. You can see that in his game.
"Some of his kicks and the things he does are very unorthodox and left-field, but they seem to work out for him because he continues to do them every week.
"He is a great player and very unpredictable. I love watching him play footy."
Originally published as Broncos set to swoop on Penrith Origin hero