By HARRY CLARKE
A lot of people who grew up around south west Queensland during the late 90s and early 2000s will remember the Capewell boys on the sporting field.
The four brothers from Charleville were always the first to get a guernsey in any junior rep team, and they were guaranteed to run circles around any opposition they faced.
Jake Capewell was a state champion cross country runner and was once described by Ipswich Jets coach Shane Walker as “the best of them” at rugby league.
But as “more of a jockey’s build”, Jake ended up becoming a horse breaker and also runs a thoroughbred spelling farm at Toowoomba.
All four were keen polocrosse players. Their mum, former Murweh Shire councillor Lyn Capewell, says “the only sport they didn’t do was clay target shooting, which is funny because the gun club was right next door to our property”.
Sam Capewell used to play for the Ipswich Jets BRL side and is now a carpenter who moonlights as a marriage celebrant.
The other two Capewell brothers, Liam and Kurt, became professional rugby league players with the Ipswich Jets, while cousin Luke Capewell had a successful career playing for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos.
Now of course, Kurt Capewell, the youngest brother, has played an NRL grand final with the Penrith Panthers and won a grand final with the Cronulla Sharks.
But perhaps Capewell’s most famous achievement came only last week when the 27-year-old fulfilled his childhood dream of playing State of Origin for Queensland.
Not only that, he starred in his debut game. Capewell’s match-turning break down the sideline at Adelaide Oval, and cross field chip at full pace to put fullback AJ Brimson in to score, was one of those thrilling moments that will no doubt be played on State of Origin highlight reels for years to come.
WATCH: Capewell sets ups thrilling Maroons try
A clan of ten Capewells watched the game live. They’d made the mad dash from outback Charleville to Adelaide last week when, barely a day out from the match, Kurt was named as starting left centre in the Maroons side.
Lyn Capewell said the family had perfect seats in the stadium to watch the great try unfold.
“It happened right in front of us. It was so exciting. You probably heard us cheering from your place,” she said.
“He got the ball and he (Blues defender, Clint Gutherson) came at him, and we thought it was going to be a run of the mill play. Then Kurt wiped him off and away he went. We just lit up from there.”
It was a funny looking kick. Maroons coach Wayne Bennett joked it was an “ugly” kick. But according to Lyn Capewell it was the type of “backyard footy” play that Kurt and his brothers had done for years growing up in Charleville.
She said the boys used to put washing detergent and water on the football to make it slippery as they’d try to out-do each other at home.
“They lived football. Kurt was the youngest. When he was six-years-old he’d scream and dance every Saturday morning because his brothers could all go and play footy for the Charleville junior club but he wasn’t old enough yet,” she said.
“But he’d still put on the headgear when we went to watch his brothers”.
Kurt spent five weeks back home at Charleville earlier this year when the NRL shut down due to the pandemic.
Lyn said her youngest “doesn’t like fish” but spent most of the holiday in a tinny boat on the Warrego River angling for Murray Cod.
“For the first time ever, he loaded up cod lines with one of his mates and caught his first ever cod. It was as wide as the tinny,” she said.
There’s a proud community in Charleville this week, cheering on one of their own as Capewell shines at rugby league’s highest level. Murweh Shire Council mayor Shaun “Zoro” Radnedge has unofficially named the town “Kurtville” for the month of November.
At a press conference last week, Kurt said the best part about his Maroons experience has been the fact his family got to see him play.
“It was huge for them to be able to get there and get the win in front of them as well. Obviously it was pretty short notice (for them to attend),” Capewell said.
“It was a memory I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”