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Capewell not offended by Fifita calls

David Fifita has again been left out of the Queensland side, with Kurt Capewell set to start in the back row in next week’s decider.
David Fifita has again been left out of the Queensland side, with Kurt Capewell set to start in the back row in next week’s decider.

Maroons veteran Kurt Capewell says he’s not offended by claims that Titans wrecking ball David Fifita should have taken his place for the State of Origin decider, with the edge forward taking umbrage to suggestions his side was “monstered” at the MCG.

Capewell came off the bench in game 2 but has been promoted to the starting side in place of Jaydn Su’A for what will be his 11th Origin appearance.

The 30-year-old has plenty of big-game experience for the Maroons and in grand finals, but there are some who feel Fifita should be starting at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday given how destructive he can be with the ball.

David Fifita wasn’t picked in this year’s Origin series despite being one of the most damaging runners in the NRL. Picture: NRL Photos
David Fifita wasn’t picked in this year’s Origin series despite being one of the most damaging runners in the NRL. Picture: NRL Photos

“Dave’s an outstanding player and he’s been playing some great footy,” Capewell said on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t pick the team and I don’t take any offence from people saying that Dave should be selected because he’s in great form.

“I got selected and I’m here to do a job, so I’m just focusing on what I can control and that’s my preparation for the next week-and-a-half.

“I’m not so much worried about leading the pack, I’m here to do my role, which is helping my edge.”

Queensland coach Billy Slater has been peppered with questions about Fifita all series, with the Titans star averaging career highs in runs and run metres per game to go with his explosive attacking plays.

“Dave was a serious consideration but we feel that the 17 players that have been chosen are the 17 players that have earned the opportunity to be here,” Slater said.

“All Queenslanders are considered and Dave is a name that has been in the conversation for all games. He started the season a bit behind the eight-ball and he’s still working back to the standard that he created for himself last year.

“I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that.

“Ultimately, this is the 17 we feel is the right 17 for the game next week.”

Billy Slater faces the toughest test of his coaching career after the Maroons were outplayed in game 2. Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous
Billy Slater faces the toughest test of his coaching career after the Maroons were outplayed in game 2. Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

With Fifita left out again, Capewell and his fellow forwards are going to need to stand up after they were pushed around in the heavy game 2 loss that led to claims by former Maroons players that they had been “bullied”.

That’s something you never hear about Queensland teams, and the accusation hasn’t sat well with the current squad.

“I wouldn’t say that we were pushed around or monstered. That’s probably not the right word,” Capewell said.

“They definitely beat us but we’ve just got to look at us and where we think we went wrong and work on that this week so that next Wednesday night we put our best foot forward and get our job done in front of our home crowd.”