It’s the news Roosters fans knew was coming but dreaded. Jake Friend has made the toughest decision of his career after a meeting with Trent Robinson.
It’s the news Roosters fans knew was coming but dreaded. Jake Friend has made the toughest decision of his career after a meeting with Trent Robinson.

20 concussions cut legend’s career short

Sydney Roosters skipper Jake Friend has announced he is retiring immediately from the sport.

After suffering three concussions in his last six games, Friend made the toughest decision of his career after meeting with coach Trent Robinson and the club's medical staff on Tuesday.

Friend quits after 14 seasons, 264 NRL games, three State of Origins for Queensland and one Test. He has been a co-captain for six years.

Roosters powerbrokers have been concerned for his long-term wellbeing as a new father and are more than comfortable with the decision.

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Friend had been wrestling with the retirement call since he was knocked out in the opening round game against the Manly Sea Eagles at the SCG.

Over the course of his decorated career Friend has suffered 20 concussions.

He was initially reluctant to retire because he felt he was letting down the team, however, Friend finally informed his closest teammates it's now time to hang up the boots.

HOW WE GOT TO THIS POINT.

Friend had been wrestling with the retirement call since he was knocked out in the opening round game.

He had told teammates he felt like he was letting them down.

Friend told The Sunday Telegraph a week after the collision that he would be guided by medical advice.

"I want to keep playing but I'll be guided by the medical experts," he said.

"We'll see what happens."

Friend only inked a one-year deal last year. He has struggled with ongoing shoulder and neck issues in the past couple of seasons.

He achieved his long-term goal of playing Origin last year, featuring in the Maroons' series win. He played one Test for Australia in 2016.

The Roosters have already assured Friend's long-term successor with premiership-winning hooker Sam Verrills. Verrills, who is recovering from another minor knee operation, is signed with the club until the end of 2024.

His Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner is sidelined until at least round 12 after a bout of serious concussions in recent years. There were concerns for Cordner's long-term future but it is expected the Australian skipper will return to the field.

Friend, who made his Roosters debut in 2008, sits fourth overall in game's played for the Roosters with 264. Only 300-gamers Mitch Aubusson, Anthony Minichiello and Luke Ricketson have played in more matches for the tricolours.

JAKE FRIEND

Debut: 2008 v Canterbury round 16.

Games: 264 top grade games, fourth all-time in Roosters history. 27 tries, one field goal.

Representative: One Test for Australia in 2016, three games for Queensland in 2020, NRL-All Stars 2017

Grand finals: Four

Premierships: Three including two as co-captain

Originally published as Sad end: 20 concussions cut legend's career short


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