Deja vu strikes Yeo as Panthers stalk seventh straight target

Isaah Yeo can't help but feel a sense of nostalgia approaching with Penrith eyeing their seventh victory on the trot in Friday night's clash against St George Illawarra on home turf.

The Panthers have cancelled out a six-game losing streak earlier in the season with a remarkable turnaround to remarkably find themselves in the top eight.

Yeo and 11 teammates were part of the club's similar effort to climb from 15th spot after nine rounds in 2017 to finish seventh and reach the finals with 11 wins from their final 15 games. 

"It's a big turnaround compared to three months ago and what confidence can do for a side," Yeo told NRL.com.

"Hard work is being rewarded. We haven't been perfect either and understand there's a lot of improvement left in us. I think that's what makes it different to a few years ago. 

"We had the team on paper whereas we've gone through a bit of change here and a lot of young kids have come through and have injected a bit of life into us."

Penrith will need to win at least five of their last eight games to give themselves a chance of a fourth consecutive season in the finals, while they're only four competition points outside an unlikely top four spot.

The Panthers host the Dragons, Raiders and Sharks over the next month with a grudge match against Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Canterbury also pencilled in at Bankwest Stadium in round 20.

"The whole competition aside from Melbourne it's a logjam," Yeo said.

"Any team can drop a couple of games and suddenly they're near the bottom of the table.

"We've had to play semi-final footy pretty early on, we've been here before and understand we've got it in us."

NSW representative James Maloney was absent at training on Monday with the club giving him time off to freshen up after backing up last week following Origin III.

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary ran freely and is certain to be named in the No.7 jersey alongside the veteran playmaker on Tuesdaym with Jarome Luai likely to revert back to bench or out of the 17 altogether.

"Jimmy and Jarome have done really well while Nath has been out so it will be interesting to see what happens there," Yeo said.

"It's a healthy selection dilemma to have after struggling to field halves a few weeks ago."

Yeo is expected to replace Liam Martin at lock this weekend with the rookie forward out for another fortnight with a quad injury.