Kurt Capewell has been in top form for Cronulla. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
Kurt Capewell has been in top form for Cronulla. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.

Salary cap pressure leaves young Shark on edge

BREAKOUT back-rower Kurt Capewell's days at Cronulla could be numbered as salary cap issues continue to put a squeeze on the club's roster.

Capewell was called on to replace the injured Wade Graham on the left edge during the opening rounds of the season and has been a revelation in that role.

But Cronulla has been forced to shed $350, 000 from this year's salary cap and will need to do the same next season.

The NRL sanctioned the club for cap discrepancies dating back to 2013 after former CEO Barry Russell self-reported concerns to the governing body.

It means Capewell, who is off contract at the end of 2019, could be looking for a new home for next year.

"I'd love to stay at the club, they're in a bit of a tough position with the cap and trying to keep the cap sorted out. I don't think about it too much, my manager is doing all that stuff for me, so the main thing for me is to keep playing good footy and winning the competition with the Sharks," Capewell said.

Moving on hooker Jayden Brailey, who has 18 months left on his deal at Cronulla, and halfback Kyle Flanagan will also ease cap pressure.

Flanagan is contracted until the end of 2021 but is likely to be in Sydney Roosters colours before June 30.

Capewell is an Origin player in waiting. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
Capewell is an Origin player in waiting. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.

While Capewell's form is no guarantee to extend his time at the shire club, it has caught the attention of Queensland coach Kevin Walters.

The Charleville junior had no idea just how closely the Maroons coach had been following his on-field performances or that he was in Origin contention.

Capewell said Walters' phone call was the first time the pair had spoken to each other about Origin.

"It was a complete surprise. I was out having a coffee with Matt Moylan and he asked me 'well, when do you go into camp? I hear that you're on the extended bench' and I said 'nah mate, I don't know where you've got your facts from, I haven't heard anything'," Capewell said.

"We sat there for about an hour and I kept getting messages of congratulations and I didn't know what was going on and eventually Kevvie called me and gave me the good news."