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Black cats no problem for new Panther Capewell

Most people with a superstitious streak who saw a black cat run across the field during their NRL debut match, might look to steer clear of that club in the future.

But not Kurt Capewell. He's joined Penrith on a two-year deal and now proudly wears the black Panthers logo across his chest.

"The black cat night … it was so funny to look back at that and realise that four years later, here I am playing with the side I debuted against," Capewell told of the round 18 match at Penrith Stadium in 2016.

There were no dark vibes for the Sharks as they won that night 26-10. And Capewell doesn't count himself as a superstitious man.

"Maybe there were some signs there that this is where I needed to come," he said.

The infamous black cat takes off down the sideline.
The infamous black cat takes off down the sideline. ©Robb Cox./NRL Photos

It had to be somewhere special to replace what Capewell had in his four years at Cronulla.

"It was definitely hard to leave the Sharks. I was very passionate about the Sharks and there's still a place in my heart for that club – they are like a family member.

"To leave all that was a bit hard. But in saying that when I got to Penrith they took me straight under their wing and they've made it feel like home every since.

"I suppose you could say I've expanded my family.

"I'm forming new friendships and now have a new bond here at Penrith. That will be tough to break too."

Capewell scores a much needed try on the right edge

Alongside the heartache of leaving the club where you made your debut – and was 18th man in their premiership-winning squad – comes a sense of rejuvenation.

"It gives you a fresh outlook on the game – new perspective, different system, new faces – it all takes you out of your comfort zone but that's sort of what you've got to do to get better," Capewell said.

What he would like to do is cement a spot in the forwards. For some reason people view Capewell as your above-average bench man and utility even though from the 25 games he played in 2019, 16 were starting in the second row.

"I'm more than happy to come off the bench if that's what is best for the team. But for me to personally improve my game I really want to nail down a back-row starting spot," Capewell said.

"I think I've played some of my best footy in the back row. When I play 80 minutes consistently week-in, week-out I feel that's when my best footy comes out.

"I'm looking to do that at Penrith. But no doubt someone will get injured and I might have to move somewhere like centre to help fill a hole. I'm more than happy to do that as I enjoy having that flexibility.

"Give me a chance to go out and have a bit of fun in the centres and try to score a try."

In round nine in 2020 he will face his old teammates at Penrith Stadium – with or without any black cats on the loose.

"I actually am looking forward to it. Sometimes if it ends on bad terms with your old club you might have some anger down there, but I'm going to be up for that game.

"I'll really like taking on mates because I'd love to have one over them at the end of the day."

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National 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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