Isaah Yeo calls out 'stupid' act as Nathan Cleary detail haunts Panthers in Warriors loss

The absence of Penrith's superstar was heavily felt as the Warriors sprung a huge upset.

Penrith co-captain Isaah Yeo has lashed himself over a "stupid" sin-binning that proved costly for his side in Sunday's shock 22-20 defeat to the Warriors in Magic Round. The Panthers paid the price for errors and ill-discipline and also looked clunky in attack without injured halfback Nathan Cleary as the Warriors got their stuttering NRL season back on track.

The match started in shocking fashion for the Warriors at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, with Taine Tuaupiki kicking the ball dead on the full from the opening kickoff. That error gifted the three-time defending premiers field position and Dylan Edwards made them pay with the first try of the match for Penrith after just two minutes.

Isaah Yeo was filthy with himself for a costly sin-bin against the Warriors as Penrith rued the absence of halfback and goalkicker Nathan Cleary. Pic: Getty
Isaah Yeo was filthy with himself for a costly sin-bin against the Warriors as Penrith rued the absence of halfback and goalkicker Nathan Cleary. Pic: Getty

Marcelo Montoya levelled the scores with an eye-catching put-down, midway though the half but injured his shoulder diving to score the try. Scott Sorensen then combined with Jarome Luai to score under the posts to give Penrith a slender halftime lead but the match was turned on its head after the break when Yeo gave away a senseless penalty that saw him go to the bin for 10 minutes.


The Panthers skipper barged into Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad as the stand-in Warriors five-eighth attempted to take a quick tap from a penalty just after half-time, with referee Grant Atkins left with little choice but to sin-bin Yeo. And the Warriors took full advantage of the extra man by crossing for two tries in quick succession to take the lead.

"(It was) just stupidity," Yeo said about the game-changing penalty against him. "Just a bad judgement call early in that second half when you already know we're not at our best. It made the day hard for ourselves. That was poor leadership."

Yeo made amends by crossing for a try when he returned to the fray, before Izack Tago struck inside the final 15 minutes to see the Panthers regain the lead. But there were a few more twists to come in an exciting finish in Brisbane as Tuaupiki scythed through the Penrith defence to cross for a match-levelling try out wide, before nailing the sideline conversion to give the Warriors a two-point lead.

The Panthers were then given an opportunity to send the match to golden point in the final minute when they were awarded a controversial penalty 35 metres out from the tryline. Edwards - who had already had an off game with the boot - skewed the attempted penalty to the right of the posts as the Warriors hung on for a much-needed victory.

Edwards' miss hit home just how much the Panthers missed their inspirational halfback Cleary, who is one of the best kickers in the game. It summed up what was an underwhelming game in general for Edwards, who only kicked two from five goals as the Panthers fell to their third defeat of the season.

Seen here, Penrith NRL star Dylan Edwards.
Dylan Edwards scored one try but missed three out of five goals in Penrith's NRL defeat to the Warriors in Magic Round. Pic: Getty

Speaking after the game, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary refused to blame the loss on the arrest of Taylan May on the Saturday before the game. NSW Police are expected to allege the 22-year-old punched a woman known to him in the face and leg on April 8 when he faces Penrith Local Court later this month. May has since been suspended from his duties by the Panthers, but is not yet officially subject to the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy.

"No, I don't think so," Cleary said when asked if May's arrest had affected his side. "We just got on with life. We're here to play footy and that's what we did. We just didn't play well enough today." Jarome Luai added: "We don't use anything as an excuse. We turned every page in our preparation and that's all it came down to."

with AAP