Kurt Capewell's former Ipswich coach Shane Walker rates a ruptured testicle the "piece de resistance" of footy injuries before adding that the versatile Shark has a history of overcoming adversity stretching back to his Queensland bush upbringing.
Walker insists the 25-year-old will handle playing in the semi-final against Penrith on Friday night with a protective guard. He suffered the injury in the round 25 win over Canterbury.
The Walker and Capewell clans are family friends and Shane has known Kurt since he was born.
One of four brothers, Capewell grew up playing on the barren and often prickly fields of south-west Queensland and working on a property where locals overcome obstacles, not yield to them.
"When they want a game of footy out there in Charleville it can be six hours one way and six hours back so like a lot of bush kids Kurt is very resilient and tough," Walker told NRL.com.
"They don't bother pulling out the prickles out there because it only leaves room for more to get in.
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"In Kurt's first pre-season at the Broncos [in 2011] he was training the house down and at Christmas our families went out to Charleville. Kurt was on a high-powered motorcycle and said he'd race me back home when he hit a stump, went flying and concussed himself.
"He did grade three AC joint and was in a bad way in the paddock but he dusted himself off, straightened the bike and away he went.
"Rupturing a testicle is the piece de resistance of injuries, but a week later [he is] ready with his padded jocks to do battle again. It just shows how tough he is."
Capewell's mental toughness has also defined his career. He stayed in a caravan out the back of Ben Walker's family home after devastating floods swept through Ipswich in 2011, the same year he debuted in the Intrust Super Cup for the Jets as a 17-year-old.
"There was a power point that was working so Kurt camped in an old caravan, set up a toaster and away he went. He wasn't looking for plush surrounds," Shane recalled.
"He just got on with life, got on with his apprenticeship and got on with his footy. They cop plenty of hard hits in the bush so he didn't worry about what he didn't have. He's pretty unflappable."
Capewell's athleticism as a teenager was evident but Walker said he had to overcome rejection and reinvent himself before signing with the Sharks after winning the Intrust Super Cup grand final with Ipswich in 2015.
"He got down to Ipswich Grammar School and was playing rugby there and the Brisbane Lions had identified him as a possible AFL player and had him in a squad, so it was clear he was a good athlete who could run and jump and pass," Walker said.
"Kurt had a year with the Jets and then the Broncos signed him on a two-year deal. After 18 months he went to the Roosters and played under Paul Green but at the end of the year they let him go.
"It would have been easy for Kurt to come back in 2014 and not want to play footy after being told he was no longer wanted but he applied himself at Ipswich, reinvented himself as a back-rower and two years later was signed by the Sharks. You've got to be mentally tough to be able to come through that.
"In the next couple of years he will hit his prime because by then he will have played the games that he needs to."
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