Sunday night's grand final defeat was a shattering one for Isaah Yeo and his Panthers teammates but there was still a reward for the St John's junior's outstanding season.
Yeo was again one of Penrith's best in the 26-20 defeat to the Melbourne Storm on Sunday night and it was because of that type of consistent performance he was named in the NSW Origin squad post-match.
Blues coach Brad Fittler filled the final seven spots in his extended 25-man squad with players from the grand final and Yeo was one of four Panthers chosen.
Five-eighth Jarome Luai was a bolter while Nathan Cleary and Stephen Crichton were also selected alongside Yeo.
Speaking on Nine's post-game show, Fittler stated it was Yeo's performances in the high pressure environment of finals football in recent weeks which clinched his spot in the squad.
The former Western Ram was firmly in the running for a spot prior to finals having been one of the Panthers' standouts in a season which included 17 straight victories.
Yeo was also named the NRL's Lock of the Year at last week's Dally M awards night.
He and his fellow Panthers will now have to shrug off the disappointment of Sunday night and work to impress Fittler in Blues training this week.
The coach said on Sunday night he already had an idea of the final 17 he wanted to choose for game one of this year's series at Adelaide on November 4.
Yeo is one of a number of middle forwards in the squad alongside Boyd Corder, Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray, Tyson Frizell, Angus Crichton, Dale Finucane, and Nathan Brown.
Yeo is also one of two Western Rams products in the Blues squad alongside Orange junior and Dally M Medal winner Jack Wighton.
The Dubbo product was again strong in Sunday's decider but like most of his teammates struggled to make a major imprint on the game in the first half.
He got through plenty of work but it was one-way traffic early as the Storm built a 22-0 lead by half-time.
There was one moment in the first half from Yeo which is likely to be lost in time.
The back-rower dragged down the Storm's man mountain Nelson Asofa-Solomona when he seemed destined to crash over and score.
However, Storm captain Cameron Smith was able to score on the very next play after Penrith hooker Api Koroisau knocked the ball loose and that was one of the many key moments in the match.
Like many of his Panthers teammates, Yeo was playing in his first grand final and coach Ivan Cleary said while his side was shattered after the defeat they would be back again.
"I'd rather look at the positives this year and the benchmarks we basically set. It's a very young team," Cleary said.
"I don't think it was meant to be tonight. They're obviously just not ready yet. I look forward after the dust settles to get back into it because it's so much fun.
"The boys are gutted now ... maybe that's part of the fuel that keeps the fire burning. We just didn't quite get it right tonight."
- NSW BLUES: Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm), Nathan Brown (Parramatta Eels), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders), Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), Dale Finucane (Melbourne Storm), Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons), Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters), Zac Lomax (St George Illawarra Dragons), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Cameron McInnes (St George Illawarra Dragons), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters), Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers).