“I’ve been unfortunate, I guess, where I’ve had a couple of bad ones that get spoken about,” Yeo told The Sun-Herald. “The Taumalolo one wasn’t great. The Michael Jennings one wasn’t great either.
“But I’ve played seven years of first grade and had three bad [concussions].
“Make no mistake, you don’t want any head knocks. I saw a specialist, the findings are sent to the NRL and you go through them. Every one I’ve had I’ve only missed a week after it.
“People have said they’ve had lasting affects for weeks, but I’ve been fine in that regard. The position I play and the number of runs and tackles I make each week, I’ve been lucky I haven’t had many.”
Yeo was naturally disappointed for Cordner but also glad his health had been made the top priority by all involved.
Yeo, a 26-year-old Dubbo junior, was excited when Fittler declared there would be a couple of debutants for Origin II, but had a nervous wait until his name was finally read out in the No.17 jersey. Parramatta’s Nathan Brown will also make his debut off the bench.
“I was just hoping to make the 21-man squad because the boys who weren’t last week ended up getting a touch up at the captain’s run, and I didn’t want to be a part of that again,” Yeo said.
“I’m very excited. I messaged my family and partner straight away and they were over the moon.
“If everything goes to plan and there are no injuries on an edge, I’ll go into the middle at some point.”
Yeo was one of the many excellent players at the foot of the mountains this season. Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was so determined to start him in the middle he shifted James Fisher-Harris into the front row. Yeo comes off contract at the end of next year, but the Panthers have made his signature a priority with many at the club viewing him as the next captain.
‘”I’ll worry about [contracts] once the camp is done,” Yeo said.
When pressed on the captaincy race with Nathan Cleary, he said: “We’ve got Nathan in camp. In club land he was the best player in the comp and that [leadership] was one area he’s really grown. We’re lucky we have number of candidates there.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.