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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Isaah Yeo’s ‘unreal’ instincts mean he never gives up for NSW Blues

“If the opportunity arises next Wednesday where I’m there to try and make a play, hopefully I make it.”

Frizell has been asked many times about trying to run down his now Newcastle teammate Gagai, and almost wished people would forget, because he didn’t quite do enough to stop the Queenslander and the Maroons still scored.

Isaah Yeo chasing down Ben Hunt.Credit: Nine

Who knows how many times that moment was replayed in his head in the nights that followed that Origin debut game.

Frizell was at home when he watched game three last year and said of Yeo’s similar effort: “It was an unreal defensive effort by him. He also had one of those a couple of weeks ago in club land [when he chased down James Tedesco]. It’s in his DNA and the kind of player he is.

“It’s been nice to watch him play for NSW, now I get the opportunity to play alongside him.”

Yeo watched NSW lose the opening game in Adelaide, and was handed his debut in game two of that 2020 series after Boyd Cordner (concussion) and Cameron Murray (hamstring) were ruled out.

“This is my ninth Origin game and my fourth series, and you feel more comfortable coming into camp,” Yeo said.

“I’m more comfortable with my own game, and my performances in club land, and when you do that, you bring that confidence here [into camp].

“This game will be exciting. We both have physical forwards packs with a lot of class and strike out on both edges. They have a lot of players in form and at teams performing well, while I feel like the [Sydney] teams have built over a little period. It will be a really good spectacle.”


Yeo is now one of the first Blues players picked and a premier lock in the game. He received the ultimate rap from Kangaroos assistant Michael Hagan, who spent time with him at last year’s World Cup, labelling him the player to build a new franchise around.

“And I say that because of his leadership around the team, his work ethic and work rate, and he’s skilful and smart,” Hagan said before Yeo’s 200th game for Penrith earlier this season.

Watch the State of Origin exclusively live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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