Brisbane Broncos second-rower Kurt Capewell has revealed a lack of form is behind his axing from Queensland's State of Origin team for the series-opener in Adelaide next Wednesday evening.
Despite a much flaunted pick and stick strategy, Queensland Maroons' coach Billy Slater, in just his second series in charge, has made plenty of big decisions for the Maroons in 2023 ahead of Game 1 after teams were named on Monday morning.
Slater elected to cut established Origin stalwarts Kurt Capewell and Dane Gagai, as well as Kalyn Ponga who has spent his season to date either concussed or in the halves.
Set to a backdrop of experience falling out of the side already in the shape of the suspended Felise Kaufusi and retired Josh Papalii, and the decisions could leave the Maroons heading into Origin 1 as the inexperienced side.
Capewell, who has been part of a Brisbane Broncos side near enough to the top of the ladder but not setting the world on fire himself, has previously played at both centre and second-row in Origin, but will watch Game 1 from his living room.
He told Triple M Radio that he had received a call from Slater to inform him he wouldn't be picked, and put it down to his own on-field form.
“(Billy Slater) rang me and it was good of him to let me know (he had missed selection),” Capewell said.
“I was sitting around wondering, unfortunately I didn't make the cut.
“I probably haven't been in my best form of late, so he (Slater) is picking blokes who are in good form and hopefully we still get the job done in Origin I.”
Capewell's axing, combined with Kaufusi's suspension, leaves the Maroons with a completely new-look second-row pairing in the form of David Fifita and Tom Gilbert.
The duo have both been in excellent form at club level for the Gold Coast Titans and Dolphins respectively, with Fifita in particular playing at his damaging best this year.
Despite the opportunity for the duo, combined with the potential returns for Game 2 of the suspended Jeremiah Nanai and Kaufusi, Capewell said he wants to play himself back into form and earn a spot for Game 2, which will be played in Brisbane during mid-June.
“100 per cent. I want to play myself back into form and put myself back in the picture for Game Two.
“It's not too hard, I have a fair job to do here at the Broncos to be honest.
“We have had a pretty rough month, we have played some big games this month, so I'm looking forward to getting the Broncos on the right side of the scoreboard.
“If we can do that, hopefully I can play myself back into form.
“There's not much more I can do now for Game 1, so my job now is to get the win for the Broncos and get us on the right side of the scoreboard.”
At 29 years of age, Capewell has played nine Origins for his state since a representative debut in 2020.