Penrith has done a commendable job re-signing the bulk of their playing roster for next year and beyond, but one star player whose future is still very much up in the air is that of backrower Kurt Capewell.
The 27-year-old, who joined Penrith last year from Cronulla, is off-contract at season’s end and has a long list of suiters knocking down his door.
From the besieged Broncos to the struggling Bulldogs, clubs are throwing big money at the recent Queensland Origin representative for next season – money Penrith might not be able to match.
Speaking about his next career move, the North Ipswich Tigers junior said he isn’t sure where his future lies.
“I’m obviously just exploring all my options at the moment,” he told the Weekender.
“I’d love to stay at Panthers if possible. We’ll be working on that.”
Due to a major knee injury, Capewell only played nine games for the Panthers last season, mostly off the bench.
However, the Charleville product really started to make a mark when he made his Origin debut for Queensland last November.
Capewell put in several strong performances to help the Maroons win the series over favourites New South Wales.
Asked whether returning home to Queensland next season appealed to him, Capewell replied: “I don’t mind too much, I’m pretty happy wherever I’m living.”
Whether Capewell remains a Panther next year or not, there’s still plenty of unfinished business at the foot of the Mountains, and it continues this weekend against the in-form Sea Eagles in Bathurst.
Panthers back-rower Kurt Capewell still hasn’t decided his future for next year. Would like to remain at Penrith but is “exploring all options at the moment” #PantherPride
— Nathan Taylor (@NateTaylor87) April 27, 2021
The last time Penrith played Manly in Round 4, they embarrassed Des Hasler’s men at home, and by a record margin. With the Sea Eagles looking a much better and confident side with Tom Trbojevic back in the line-up, Capewell said the Panthers will need to be switched on.
“They are definitely a different team now with Tommy in… it will be a tough game and should be entertaining,” he said.
“Manly started the year not so well but the way they are going now, they can show up and beat any team.”
Capewell has been impressed with his own side’s recent form too.
“Each game has been different and provided a different challenge for us each week. I think the boys have handled it really well,” he said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.