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‘The pride and the emotions that come with this jersey are huge’

Dear Queenslanders,

Growing up as kid in Queensland and being passionate about footy, State of Origin time is your favourite time of the year.

Whether Queensland win or lose, it has such an effect on you as a kid… you are either going to school really happy or really sad, but it was definitely a highlight of the year. At school there were a few kids there that went against the grain, but they weren’t as happy as us most of the time.

As a family, we used to watch it on the TV; we’d watch a lot of footy and I have pretty fond memories about that. The NRL used to have a theme song, ‘Friday night’s a great night for football’, and we used to just run around screaming that on a Friday… we couldn’t wait, we are a pretty big footy family.

Running out for Queensland. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Running out for Queensland. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

My first footy memories would have to be from the backyard – I have three older brothers, so my memories would be about us in the backyard, out at Charleville.

My first game was out at the showgrounds out at Charleville... running around barefoot, bindies, and good fun. That's where my love of rugby league really started.

That love got me to Origin. Thinking back to making my debut for Queensland last year, it’s pretty good… it’s probably the biggest achievement in my life, so it is something that means a lot to me.

Camp was awesome. Obviously it was at the end of the year and I was probably a bit bitter about the grand final, so to go straight into camp with the boys and instantly start having fun, enjoying each other’s company, really took my mind off that. And then to get a start, in the centres, was awesome.

Capewell: 'Obviously it's a dream come true'

I was probably a little bit nervous to be honest – but to get that opportunity and then to win that first game was massive; it’s pretty hard to describe. It was… you can’t put words to it.

And on that kick? It sort of just happened – Clint Gutherson sort of fell off the tackle and it was just instinctive. As a kid, you grow up practising your chip-and-chase and whatnot at school, and I was pretty lucky I think.

If it didn’t come off, I am sure we would have scored somehow, somewhere; but we were never going to lose that game – I was lucky just to be a part of it.

That kick. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
That kick. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

Before the game, I was pretty zoned in, so I wasn’t caught up in the emotion too much at all, but as soon as you get out of that tunnel, it just all hits you and it was crazy.

Emotions were running high, obviously I had my family out there… just everything you dream of as a kid coming true and then the ball is kicked off and 10 minutes later, all the emotion is gone and you are just in a battle of your life.

Last year, we were in a COVID bubble, so unfortunately, we were not able to share the moment fully with our families, friends and the Queensland fans.

You want your family and your close ones to be part of it, as you do for everything big in your life and obviously, Origin’s probably, Origin is the biggest event in my life. But I knew where they were, I could hear them… they are a loud bunch.

I didn’t really look up at them until after the game; it was a bit of a pity we couldn’t go up there and give them a hug – but to see everyone there after that game, that was … emotions came back after the game, that’s for sure.

Family. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Family. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

I have always had a goal to play for the Maroons – all Queensland players do – and before I made the team I had hoped in the back of my mind that one day I would earn a jersey.

Sometimes at fan events and junior clinics that you attend as an NRL player, you have little kids ask you to sign jerseys flat out, whether you have played for that team or not, but for me, I didn’t feel right signing that Queensland jersey, and I don’t think anyone would unless obviously they had pulled it on.

The pride and the emotions that come with this jersey are huge and that’s why we play so hard for it.

It’s a hard thing to put into words what it means to be a Queenslander and to put this jersey on – it’s just that much emotion and I guess you play for all your family and obviously your friends that supported you the whole way through your career.

You wind yourself back and take yourself back to being a kid and when you were going to school happy or not depending on the State of Origin game the night before, so you play for the kids too.

Coming from the country, there’s a few other boys in the squad who come from the country, we were all that little kid when we were young, just so passionate about it.

You don’t lose that… I get a little bit emotional when I talk about pulling the jersey on, just because it’s still sort of surreal to think you are actually doing it.

Jersey presentation. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Jersey presentation. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

You play for the state, you don’t want to let anyone down – you know how much this state loves the game of rugby league, so I think that’s why we play so hard for our jersey.

Kind regards,

Kurt Capewell

FOG #206

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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