Dubbo product Isaah Yeo produced arguably one of his finest performances in a Penrith jersey to help the Pathers score an incredible and memorable comeback win over the Warriors on Saturday afternoon.
The former St John’s junior scored his first ever double and was heavily involved in setting up another try as the Panthers came back from a 28-6 half time deficit to defeat the Warriors 36-28 at Penrith’s Pepper Stadium.
“We just seemed to have all momentum for the full 40 in the second half. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Yeo told the Panthers’ official website after his side had recorded the second-biggest comeback win in the club’s history..
“We copped a fair bit of a spray from the crowd at half time, I think they were booing us, but we’ve got confidence in ourselves as players and I think that showed.
“The crowd was pumping in that last 15 minutes. It was unreal.”
Yeo did it all himself to score his side’s first try after the Warriors had raced to a 16-0 lead. He beat a number of would-be tacklers before diving over next to the sticks.
But that was just a small blip on the radar for the Warriors, who dominated first half proceedings and went into the sheds with a 22-point win, the crowds’ boos ringing in the ears of the Panthers.
If Penrith were to be any chance they had to start the second half well and it was again that man Yeo, running off a short ball from Bryce Cartwright, who got across the line and got his side believing.
From there it was all one way traffic with Penrtih dominating every facet of the game and not giving the New Zealand side a sniff.
Yeo put Waqa Blake through a hole, with the Panthers centre running over the top of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to make it 28-24 after 56 minutes.
When Matt Moylan crossed in the 59th and Nathan Cleary potted the subsequent conversion, the Panthers had done the unthinkable and taken the lead.
Tyrone Peachey crossed four minutes from fulltime and Penrith were suddenly looking every bit the contenders many had tipped them to be this year.
They scored five unanswered tries in the second half to record one of the most memorable wins in the club's 50-year history.
It was the Panthers' second-biggest comeback, falling just short of the 23-point disadvantage they clawed back against the Wests Tigers in 2000, and Yeo was hailed as the unlikely hero.
“It was my first try all year actually so to get two over the line is pretty exciting and I’ve been dropping a couple of short balls so to catch one or two was nice,” he said, before speaking about the result.
“It’s obviously exciting. I thought we weren’t that bad in the first half, honestly, but a couple of things didn’t go our ways, there was errors and stuff like that and they (Warriors) are so attacking you can’t stop for a minute, which we did.
“But it was a great effort from our boys. A lot of sides would have given up at half time but it’s a credit to the 17 we’ve got and that never-say-die mentality. Hopefully we can get on a bit of little roll from here.”
It was an extraordinarily important two points in the context of the season for Penrith as a loss would have almost spelled the end of their title hopes.
But instead the win lifts the Panthers to 3-7 and gives them confidence and belief heading in to next week's clash with Newcastle.