Roosters skipper Jake Friend to retire after suffering 20 concussions
The 264-game career of Jake Friend has come to an end with reports the inspirational skipper has revealed his decision to his closest friends.
Friend had played 14 seasons and 264 games in the NRL as well as playing for Queensland for the first time in 2020 as the Maroons pulled off the most unlikely of series victories.
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But the tough skipper is set to call an end to his career at 31 after suffering a concussion in the Roosters’ first match of the season against the Sea Eagles.
Friend was left twitching on the ground after a heavy collision with Sea Eagles recruit Andrew Davey left him concussed.
It was his third concussion in six months and was widely believed that he would have to make a decision over whether his career could continue.
He has reportedly suffered 20 concussions in his career.
Even at the time Roosters, coach Trent Robinson wasn’t positive about his future in the game.
He was right to worry with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that Friend had begun informing his closest friends and teammates of his immediate decision to retire.
They were scary scenes against Manly.Source:Getty Images
The report said: “Part of the reason Friend has decided to hang up the boots is because the perspective he gained from the birth of his first child just days before he suffered the career-ending head knock in his side’s thumping victory over the Sea Eagles.”
The Roosters are expected to officially announced the move in the next two days but are not expected to get any salary cap compensation for Friend for the remainder of the 2021 season.
But Friend is expected to take an off-field role with the Roosters after the decision is officially revealed.
Friend has reportedly met with club officials to discuss his future and has continued to have the backing of his teammates.
Earlier this week, Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargraves paid tribute to his skipper.
“I’ve roomed with Jake for 10 years now and I think the position he is in is a tough one,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“He has been a warrior for us at the Roosters, and to go out not on his own terms is definitely the disappointing part.
“But he has got a family now, he is a new father, and there are bigger and other things to life than just footy.
“For my roomy, he is in the right hands and no doubt he will make the right decision.
“We are just here as mates and trying to comfort him the right way.”
Friend finally made his Origin debut last year.Source:News Corp Australia
The Roosters have been no strangers to concussion issues with Luke Keary having long running issues with head injuries and Boyd Cordner currently out of the team.
Friend himself was lucky to play in the Origin series after two concussions in the space of a month at the back end of last season.
He was even able to earn his first Maroons jersey in the end-of-season series but a concussion issue was a talking point after game two when Friend appeared to have wobbly legs.
A NSW official said it “beggars belief” he wasn’t taken off for a HIA with coach Wayne Bennett blasting the claims as “a fallacy”.
In the past, Friend has admitted that concussion is concerning for him post-career.
“It does (scare me),’’ Friend said in 2019.
“It’s a scary thing — and it’s a bit of an unknown. We’ve seen in the NFL, the stuff that has happened over there.’’
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