Capewell open to Qld Origin centre move

Laine Clark
Kurt Capewell was part of Queensland's extended State of Origin squad in 2019

After coming so close to a State of Origin debut last year, back-rower Kurt Capewell is desperate to wear a Queensland jersey in 2020 - even if it means playing in the centres.

Capewell's priority may be nailing down a back-row spot at his new NRL club Penrith after he signed a two-year deal.

But after getting a taste of Origin life in 2019, Capewell has embraced Queensland coach Kevin Walters' suggestion that he could feature in a new-look Maroons backline at centre this year.

Walters revealed Capewell was in the mix to fill the void left by veteran centre Will Chambers' rugby defection before welcoming the former Cronulla forward to a full strength Maroons pre-season camp held in Brisbane last weekend.

Capewell was initially considered for the Maroons back-row last year before being called in as a shadow player for the first two Origin games of 2019.

And he came close to an Origin debut in game two after answering an SOS and flying to Perth before utility Moses Mbye recovered from a life threatening allergic reaction and flyer Dane Gagai bounced back from a virus.

Capewell has not been discouraged by his Origin near misses, saying it had only made him hungrier to don Maroon no matter what position.

Suffice to say Capewell had no problem with slotting into centre in what looms as a revamped Maroons backline in 2020.

"I am more than happy to play in the centres," Capewell said.

"I have played plenty of centre in the NRL and it is good to be able to have that ability to chop and change, so if Kevvie gave me an opportunity to play in the centres I would take it with both hands and really embrace it.

"(But) obviously back-row is the No.1 goal, to try and nail that at club level and improve my footy and hopefully that will keep me in good stead for Origin level."

Walters has a history of manufacturing Maroons centres after slotting Michael Morgan and Mbye into the role last year and Capewell appears to be his next project after backing the Penrith recruit.

But Capewell wasn't getting ahead of himself with the Maroons set to welcome back Valentine Holmes in 2020 after his NFL sojourn.

"Val is back now and we have young Brimmo (Gold Coast's AJ Brimson) here (in pre-season camp) and Ronaldo Mulitalo, who is only very young and hasn't played many games but he absolutely killed it in the NRL last year, so we are definitely in good stead for this year's series," Capewell said.