Unwanted, not happy and out of form at his English club Wakefield Trinity, Isaac John’s career was seemingly going down the wrong path.
Fast forward just a few months, and the in-form Kiwi-born star has just signed a new two-year contract extension to remain at the Panthers until the end of 2015.
John only arrived at Penrith from the UK in February and was signed to one-year “no promises” deal. He was regarded as Penrith’s fourth option in the halves, and many didn’t expect him to play first grade this year.
But as Penrith’s halves options dwindled through injury it was John’s turn to finally step up and so far, he hasn’t let anyone down.
“It’s definitely been an exciting few months and I’m very grateful for the opportunity Penrith have given me, and staying for two more years is just the cherry on the top,” John said this week.
“It was not something I was thinking about (getting re-signed), I was just trying to play good footy and try and earn the boys’ respect.”
With John in the side the Panthers have won three from their last five, and look to be a lot more stable in the halves than they were in the opening few rounds.
“I think I’m a lot happier off the field and that’s transferring onto the field,” John revealed.
“I’m just really enjoying my footy at the moment and when you’re enjoying your footy you tend to play well.”
With halfback Luke Walsh moving on at season’s end, 24-year-old John has now been earmarked by coach Ivan Cleary as the man to partner incoming five-eighth Jamie Soward next year.
“Hopefully I can fill the role at ‘7’ for Penrith,” John said.
“It was a position I played a lot growing up and I’m probably more a natural ‘7’ than ‘6’, although I enjoy playing both.
“In terms of next year I haven’t really thought that far ahead, I’m still trying to get better week by week at the moment and that’s my sole focus.”