This Friday night will mark the return of Capewell to the NRL finals, a stage he graced during Penrith’s 2021 Grand Final victory against South Sydney. The spectacle will see Brisbane going head to head against Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane hasn’t participated in the finals since their devastating 58-0 blowout against Parramatta in 2019, which makes this qualifying final against the Storm exceptionally significant.
Capewell, aged 30, draws from a wealth of NRL success stories, including his stint at Cronulla during their 2016 fairytale run, and his experience of defeat with Penrith in 2020, as well as, triumph in 2021. This serves as his confidence booster in backing the Broncos‘s 2023 prospects to best any naysayers and take it all, starting with a victory over Melbourne who have been their Achilles heel.
The Broncos have suffered a string of defeats, 14 in total, against the Storm, with the last one happening at Suncorp just last week. However, Capewell feels that they are prepared to make their mark this September.
His take is that the season-long training has been targeted towards this crucial period. He notes, “We’ve been making remarkable enhancements to our game every week.”
Echoing the need for strategic planning, he pointed out that they rested several players last week and have engaged in a solid two-week training regime. He’s hopeful that this would play in their favour in the impending game.
Believing in their current modus operandi, Capewell says, “We’re just required to stay true to our game and ensure everyone fulfils their role. The final outcome will take care of itself.”
Capewell’s unique exposure to how a solid defence could pave the way to championship, is another distinct advantage. He identifies the Panthers‘ robust defensive systems, which strangle competitors enabling the brilliance of players like Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, as key to their NRL dominance.
In terms of defensive capability, while Brisbane has conceded 425 points at 17.7 per game during the season, Panthers allowed only 312 points or an average of 13 points per game. However, despite scepticism from commentators like “Gus” Gould about Brisbane’s potential for the title, Capewell stands behind the Broncos.
He explains, “Off the field unity, superb skills, and a deep-rooted work ethic define the team. We have taken it upon ourselves to improve week after week – a critical factor to clinch a championship and we definitely have it.”
Comparing Penrith’s defensive tactics and team spirit to their own approach he says, “Every game where a try slips through, hints at the scope of improvement. We’re still driving towards matching Penrith on defence, but in our unique, flamboyant Broncos‘ attacking style.”
Dismissing external critic’s remarks, Capewell asserts, “We pay heed to our coaching staff who guide us impartially. Their input enabled us to reach this point, and it’s what will keep us moving forward.”