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All Capewell and good as Latrell challenge looms

It's enough to send a chill down the spine of any Maroon but the thought of taking on Latrell Mitchell only brings a smile to Kurt Capewell's face ahead of the Origin opener in Townsville.

Lining up against Mitchell is no picnic at the best of times. 

Marking him when the South Sydney star is out to make up for lost time in the NSW jersey is positively frightening.

Yet the man tasked with the ominous assignment has no complaints.

Thrust into the Origin arena last year, the versatile Panther proved to be one of the Maroons' many surprise packets as they pulled off an unlikely series win over the Blues.

It came after a 2020 NRL grand final appearance in Capewell's first season with the Panthers.

Maroons v Blues - Origin I

And he has hit the ground running this year, chiming into the Panthers' remarkable 12-0 unbeaten NRL start to earn a Maroons start in the centres for Origin I after finishing the 2020 interstate series in the back row.

It looks set to put him on a collision course with Mitchell, who will be out to prove a point after earning a NSW recall for the first time since being unceremoniously dumped after a the 2019 series opener.

Yet Capewell is hardly fazed, saying Queensland were ready to prove the doubters wrong yet again.

"They have got some good players but guys like Mitchell are playing out of position (in the centres)," Capewell told NRL.com.

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"And last year we were the underdogs, but we proved them wrong.

"I am not fazed (by taking on Latrell). I just want to pull that jersey on again."

Capewell could be forgiven for feeling bulletproof as he heads into Origin on the back of Penrith's rollicking start to 2021.

Apart from missing round 10 due to a crusher tackle ban, Capewell has featured in every game for the Panthers in their starting back row.

It is sure to boost the off-contract utility's price tag, although the 27-year-old is tipped to remain at Penrith for at least the 2022 season.

"With regards to next year not much has been done. I will leave it up to my manager, he can keep doing it behind the scenes while I keep playing footy," Capewell said.

His club success has also ensured another Origin nod, along with five other Panthers, all of whom will be on the opposite side of the field next Wednesday.

Not surprisingly, the always positive Capewell welcomed the looming challenge from his club teammates.

Because Origin isn’t motivated by victory, it’s powered by rivalry

"Confidence is obviously high and unfortunately I have to play against a few (Penrith teammates)," he said.

"But to come from a winning team is much better than coming from a losing one.

"I am over the moon to be in the squad again. I only got a couple of opportunities last year (for Queensland) but they seemed to come off.

"I was grateful for the opportunity and I guess I got lucky.

"It was awesome to win that series last year. Hopefully we can back it up this year - I am very confident we can."

 

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