New Origin format already taking its toll

Ed Jackson and Pam Whaley
·2-min read

Queensland's Kurt Capewell concedes playing hurt is simply going to be part of an attritional 2020 State of Origin campaign.

The 27-year-old limped off late in the Maroons' game one win over NSW in Adelaide when a pre-existing groin injury became too sore to continue playing with.

Despite that agonising end to his debut, Capewell is fully prepared to play through the pain barrier in next week's second game in Sydney as Queensland look to wrap up the series.

He won't be the only player going into the match under an injury cloud.

Queensland won't have fullback AJ Brimson for the rest of the series due to a foot injury while Brenko Lee is still battling the calf niggle which ruled him out of game one.

The Maroons have also opted to rest front-rower Christian Welch for next week's game despite the prop passing an initial concussion assessment following his late head knock in game one.

There's also been a hefty toll for the Blues from the first match with Cameron Murray (hamstring) and captain Boyd Cordner (concussion) both ruled out of the rest of the series.

Melbourne flyer Ryan Papenhuyzen was unavailable for game one with a calf injury while Jack Wighton is expected to be fit despite appearing to pick up a leg problem late in game one.

With three Origin games in three weeks, Capewell concedes the depth of either state's 27-man squad will be tested.

"It's the most intense game you'll play it being Origin," the Penrith star said.

"It's a bit harder, another challenge obviously, playing week-after-week.

"It'll be a battle of the fittest by the third game."

As they aim to avoid a series defeat, losing two key players such as Murray and Cordner leaves those remaining in the Blues squad with big shoes to fill.

Backrower Tyson Frizell says anyone who didn't think the back-to-back-to-back Origin fixture wouldn't be brutal on players is getting an instant reality check.

"The reasoning behind the larger squad is there's always going to be injuries and things not going your way and people pulling out," Frizell said.

"There's a squad of 27 and everyone is preparing as though they're going to get that opportunity because ... we're going to go through a couple of players in the next few games and everyone needs to be ready to go."

ORIGIN'S CASUALTY WARD:

Qld - Out: AJ Brimson (foot), C Welch (concussion). Doubt: B Lee (calf), K Capewell (groin).

NSW - Out: C Murray (hamstring), B Cordner (concussion). Doubt: R Papenhuyzen (calf), J Wighton (leg).