Kurt Capewell says it’s just ‘business’ if he is forced to leave the Panthers as he weighs up big money interest from Brisbane and Canterbury.
Penrith’s Queensland Origin backrower Kurt Capewell hasn’t given up hope of staying at the Panthers despite the club’s salary cap squeeze but concedes it’s just “business” if he must depart.
The off-contract Capewell has attracted big money interest from the likes of Brisbane and Canterbury as he weighs up his future beyond 2021.
The Panthers are juggling the cap with a cast of big names now commanding more money following last year’s surge to the grand final.
Penrith also have the likes of Tyrone May and Mitch Kenny off contract and may not be able to match the significant offers being thrown Capewell’s way.
Despite this juggling act, the representative forward remains optimistic about remaining at the foot of the mountains.
“I’m still just hearing everyone out, but I’ll give the Panthers enough time to see what they want to do as well,” said Capewell, who has played 16 games for Penrith since joining the club in 2020.
“There are great coaches here and great people around the club, and I get along with all the players as well.
“It is hard to leave a team where you are doing so well, but that is unfortunately part of the business, and if it does come to that, it is a decision I’ll have to make.”
Capewell is also in a vastly different position to when he last came off contract during his time at Cronulla in 2019.
He may have played 25 games for the Sharks as they reached the finals, but he wasn’t an Origin player.
This has changed after Capewell made his Origin debut for Queensland during last year’s successful series win over the Blues.
His increased standing in the game is why he wants to test his value on the open market, especially with the Panthers battling the salary cap.
“I’ll explore all options at this stage,” he said.
“Obviously, I’m in a different position to the last time I was off contract, so it’s good, but that comes from playing good footy.
“I’ll just keep playing good footy and leave it up to my manager.”
Until his future is finalised, Capewell is focused on Saturday’s clash against a revitalised Manly side in Bathurst.
He is wary of the Sea Eagles following the return of star fullback Tom Trbojevic.
“They (Manly) are flying at the moment,” he said.
“Tommy’s back and they are in red-hot form, so it is going to be a tough game.
“He (Turbo) gives other players around him confidence, so we are going to have to be on this weekend.”