Despite being contracted until the end of 2021, incoming Canterbury coach Trent Barrett has been attempting to lure Panthers lock Isaah Yeo to the Bulldogs.
But Yeo has pledged his loyalty to the club, declaring his ‘heart’ is at Belmore.
“I’m still on contract at Penrith, and I’d like to think my heart is there,” Yeo told Fox Sports.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to come through there and I moved there when I was 17, so my first priority is to stay at Penrith, and I’d like to think that something will work out there.”
Yeo has been at the Panthers for seven years now and has rarely been in headlines linked to rival clubs, which came as a shock to Yeo and his father.
“My old man was asking me if there was any truth to it,” he said.
“This is the first time (in my career) where I’ve been in a position like this where articles are written about interest from other clubs.
“I actually had that story sent to me.
“It is nice to hear, but it is just a matter of making sure I’m doing my job for the club.”
Yeo’s top priority would be to remain at Penrith, but also had nothing but good things to say about Barrett, crediting him for the influence he made on him as the Panthers’ attack coach.
“For me, moving to the lock role and not being a ball player until this year, Trent has been tremendous for me,” he said.
“We did so much opposed stuff and repetition. I guess the more you do that kind of stuff, the more confidence you get.
“I was more of an up-and-down player when I first moved to the middle, but Trent has helped me, and he is a big part of why I’m in his (Blues) squad.
“The amount of trust and belief that he puts in his players is outstanding, and he will be a big loss for us.”
Despite missing out on the NSW final 21 team for the Origin opener, Yeo was stoked to be apart of the squad nonetheless.
Growing up in Dubbo, Yeo idolised and watched local hero Andrew “Bobcat” Ryan, who played 12 origin games for NSW, and said it was always a goal to make the squad himself.
“Bobcat was the one that I looked up to being from Dubbo, with all the accolades he achieved,” he said.
“The grand final wins, State of Origin and Australia. I loved watching him play.
“It is always a goal to be part of something like this, and if you asked me at the start of the year if I would make this squad, I would have thought it was out of reach, particularly after my year last year.”
Yeo added that joining the NSW camp also helped in dealing with last week’s Grand Final loss.
“You can’t be dwelling on stuff in a camp like this when there is so much on the line,” he said.
“And I don’t think you can when you are a part of a group like this.”