Capewell the perfect fit for the Gold Coast
THE form of budding pivot Luke Capewell has relieved one of Gold Coast coach John Cartwright’s biggest headaches ahead of their NRL season opener.
But the Titans mentor admitted he would be wrestling with another major decision right up to Saturday night’s kick-off against the Dragons.
Ex-South Sydney player Capewell gave Cartwright no choice but to slot the 21-yearold into the vacancy created by Mat Rogers’ retirement.
I t e n s u r e d C a r t wr i g h t didn’t lose too much sleep over who to replace the dual international, with veteran Preston Campbell and Greg Bird also being in the initial mix.
‘‘ He had a really good offseason, he didn’t miss any time – I thought he was the most impressive in the No. 6 jersey of the guys competing f or t hat position i n t he trials,’’ Cartwright said.
However, Cartwright may not trim his 18-man squad until an hour before kick-off at Skilled Park with a quest i o n m a r k o v e r M a r k Minichiello.
The backrower was named on an extended bench yester- day despite not featuring in the pre-season as he recovered from groin surgery.
‘‘ He hasn’t had the full preseason of the others, he hasn’t played in a trial and he’s only been in the full squad the last week,’’ Cartwright said. ‘‘ I might not make a decision until an hour before kick-off.’’
Cartwright said he looked f o r w a r d t o s e e i n g h o w Queensland-born Capewell fared alongside captain Scott Prince in the halves against the world club champions.
Capewell was a standout in pre-season trial wins over his former club Souths and North Queensland.
‘‘ That’s why we brought him here, we didn’t bring him here to play second grade,’’ Cartwright said of Capewell. ‘‘ We knew Mat Rogers was going to retire, so we looked around to see who was performing – he was a good fit for us.
‘‘ He is a Queenslander and he is coming home – he was in good form, he got a crack with Souths at the end of the year.
‘‘ You always look at players who suit your style and he was one of them.’’
Of the other pivot candidates, Bird shifts to the backrow while Campbell looms as an ace up the sleeve off the bench.
‘ ‘ He p l a y e d a t h o o k e r throughout the trials and he can cover so many crucial positions,’’ Cartwright said of Campbell.
William Zillman will be fullback despite missing the club’s pre-season trials due to a minor back injury.
‘‘ I thought Zillman had a tremendous off-season, but he was unable to play in the trials due to a back complaint,’’ said Cartwright.