Panthers name captains for 2021 season

Issah Yeo and Nathan Cleary. Photo: Penrith Panthers.
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Issah Yeo and Nathan Cleary will share the captaincy at Penrith this season.

The Panthers confirmed the dual captaincy model this morning on the eve of the club’s 2021 NRL campaign.

With 148 NRL games under his belt, 26-year-old Yeo is the club’s most experienced campaigner while 23-year-old Cleary has grown into leadership as the team’s halfback for the last five years.

“When I watched Isaah and Nathan during the first few weeks of this pre-season, they were organically leading those around them,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.

“It was immediately apparent what was best for our team. It felt like those two had already been appointed. It was just that natural.

“As first-time captains, I think it’s beneficial they can share the burden of extra responsibilities that come with the role.

Isaah Yeo in action against the Cowboys. Photo: NRL Images.

“Of course neither of them are the finished product but this opportunity will allow them to continue growing as leaders. I know they will do an excellent job for our club.”

Born in Dubbo, Yeo was a member of the premiership-winning Panthers NYC side in 2013 and was handed his NRL debut by Ivan Cleary the following year.

“As someone who came to the club as a 17-year-old and worked my way through the grades, to find myself in this position now is something my family and I are very proud of,” Yeo said.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be appointed to this role alongside Nathan. I think we’ve both grown a lot as footballers and leaders over the past couple of years.

“As a captain of this proud club I want to be leading by example, on and off the field, and I’ll be doing that to the best of my ability.”

Nathan Cleary. Photo: NRL Images.

A local junior with Penrith Brothers, Nathan Cleary made his NRL debut at Panthers in 2016 and marked his 100th game milestone in the 2020 NRL Grand Final.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead this club with my good mate Yeoy (Isaah Yeo),” Cleary said.

“When you look at the past greats who have captained at Panthers, it’s quite overwhelming to think about being in that same position. It’s an immense honour.

“I’ve learned a lot about leadership over the last few years. This is just another step in that journey and I’ll be doing everything I can to help our club achieve success this season.”

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