Dubbo's Isaah Yeo is a step closer to making his first grade debut after being named in the Penrith Panthers squad for the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines tournament to be held in Auckland this weekend.
Nineteen-year-old Yeo was a member of the Panthers Holden Cup premiership winning squad last season and his father Justin said it was a great moment for the whole family.
"He's very impressed, he had an inkling last week he might be selected and it was confirmed on Tuesday," he said.
"He's very excited and very proud and we're proud too, I think he's been getting a fair few messages as well."
Yeo was one of 16 Panthers, along with former Wellington junior Tyrone Peachey, named in the squad for the pre-season competition and, after training with the senior squad and meeting with the club's general manager Phil Gould and coach Ivan Cleary last week, Justin Yeo said it was good sign his son would be selected and have the chance to further his career.
"He's really excited and he's been lucky enough to be training with the seniors this year and last year he played a few games of NSW Cup so I think he's set himself the goal of playing a few more this season," he said.
Justin said his son's drive and focus on achieving his goals has been the main reason behind his success at the foot of the mountain, with the youngster going from playing for CYMS in 2012 to lining up alongside the likes of Jamie Soward, Sam McKendry and Kevin Kingston this weekend.
"We keep an eye on all our kids' sporting achievements but I guess especially Isaah with him living away from home and we're very proud.
"He's worked really hard and done a lot of the ground work himself like finding a manger and getting himself to training," he said.
"He's eager to please and I think he'll always be on the good side of coaches because he's got a good attitude and works hard."
The Panthers face a tough task in the competition after being pooled with the Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons and, after missing training earlier in the week due to work, Yeo flies out for Auckland today with the rest of the squad.
While he hasn't received any specific instructions as to what his role will be, Isaah's father said he'll be glued to the television over the weekend
"He had to work earlier in the week but he trained yesterday and I don't think the game plans are too different to what they've been working on all year," he said.
"They've named 16 in the squad and there's obviously nine on the field so I think it will just be a bit more fast and hectic but hopefully he gets out on to the field."
The Panthers' opening match is against the Storm at 1.15pm on Saturday, followed by clashes with the Dragons at 5.25pm and then the Rabbitohs at 1pm Sunday.
The final will be played at 5.30pm on Sunday.