Emotional Friend officially calls time on NRL career
Sydney Roosters skipper Jake Friend has officially announced his retirement from NRL due to concussion concerns.
Friend made the decision to call time on his 264-game career following "extensive medical advice" after suffering his third concussion in six months.
It brings to an end a spectacular career for the 31-year-old, who led the Roosters to back-to-back premierships in 2018 and 2019, alongside an earlier title in 2013.
"It wasn't an easy decision to come to but it's one that I think is right, right for myself and right for my family and the Roosters," An emotional Friend said via a video statement.
"It's been a hell of ride. It's a tough way to go out but that's footy and that's life.
"To the players, I've been lucky enough here at the Roosters to play with a lot of legends of the game, some very talented footballers and awesome blokes as well.
"I'm very thankful for everything that you guys have taught me.
"To my family, my mum, my dad, my two brothers, you've been there through thick and thin and been on the ride with me.
"You call me after a shit game, you call me after a good game and you always tell me I played awesome. So thank you for that even though you've been lying a lot of the time.
"To my fiancée Jenna, you are a rock, you do whatever I need to make sure I'm ready to play and you have done for the whole time we've been together.
"You're a great person, a great woman and recently, a great mother."
Friend's latest concussion was a heavy one, suffered in Round One this season against Manly, and it was that incident that has ultimately triggered his decision to finish his playing days in the NRL.
It was his third concussion in six months and happened just a few days after the birth of his first child, which has reportedly added perspective and influenced his decision.
"For any player that stood alongside Jake Friend in his 264 games, I have no doubt that every single one of them would thank him for being a true teammate," said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
"Jake has been an incredible player and leader for the Roosters, and while I know that he won't be comfortable with the accolades, it's important we acknowledge his achievements over the years.
"Jake's place in Roosters' history is assured.
"He is a man of integrity, and his leadership has been a key driver of the club's success.
"He has made those around him better and I've loved coaching him."