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George Clarke

Yeo, Carrigan key to unlocking grand final defences

Brisbane's Pat Carrigan and Penrith's Issah Yeo (R) know the forwards will define the NRL decider. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Penrith lock Isaah Yeo knows shutting down opposite number Pat Carrigan holds the key to thwarting Brisbane and taking the Panthers to a third-straight NRL premiership.

Yeo and Carrigan are the talismanic No.13s for their respective sides in Sunday's grand final at Accor Stadium where Brisbane will aim to win their first title in 17 years.

The pair spent time together in the Australian Test squad at last year's Rugby League World Cup and the respect is mutual.

But Yeo says he has enjoyed watching 25-year-old Carrigan's evolution into Brisbane's forward leader.

"He puts his team first but he's coming up with really big plays," Yeo told AAP.

"I feel his game has really evolved and he's been tremendous for them all season.

"The amount of work he can get out is impressive and I've got a lot of admiration for him.

"He's someone whose impact you have to limit because he touches the ball a lot and gets through a mountain of work."

Yeo was a keen observer of Brisbane's preliminary final win over the Warriors, where Carrigan led their offloading frenzy through the middle of the park.

The Warriors weren't able to contain the Broncos last week and Kevin Walters' young forwards showed no fear of creating second-phase play with their soft hands.

The Broncos middle unit of Carrigan, Payne Haas and Tom Flegler are arguably one of the few packs who can push Penrith's to their maximum.

But Yeo says he and props Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris, who have earned the nickname the "bash brothers" are up more than up to the task.

"It's getting touched on quite a bit about how strong, physical and aggressive they are," Yeo said.

"(Against the Warriors) they hit contact and were able to get the ball away.

"We are going to have our work cut out to contain them because they touch the ball so much.

"You need to be really physical with them and you have to make sure your process around them is good because you can limit that strong stuff and those boys can lay a big platform."


Games: 23/22

Tries: 4/2

Average run metres: 160/158

Tackle busts: 61/50

Offloads: 12/36.

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