Jake Friend could miss week one of the NRL finals. Picture: Cameron Spencer
Jake Friend could miss week one of the NRL finals. Picture: Cameron Spencer

Final in doubt as Friend floored by infection

Sydney Roosters co-captain Jake Friend has been struck down with the same post-surgery infection that recently floored South Sydney star Sam Burgess.

The experienced hooker was originally aiming to return to football against arch-rivals South Sydney in the final round of the competition but the comeback has been delayed until possibly as late as the second week of the finals.

The Sunshine Coast product had a plate inserted to repair a broken bone in his forearm in July but returned to hospital for further surgery last week to clean up the infection. He is now on antibiotics.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted on Monday night there was uncertainty around his return.

"It's very much like Sam Burgess' situation," Robinson said, "He had a plate put in where the break was and an infection has set in. He's on heavy antibiotics.

"He definitely won't play against Souths. It's a setback and the doctors will keep an eye on it.

"The plan is week one of the finals but it might be week two."

The 29-year-old Friend has been restricted to just five games in 2019.

 

Friend has had a tough season on the injury front. Picture: Dan Himbrechts
Friend has had a tough season on the injury front. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

 

In his absence, rookie dummy-half Sam Verills has been outstanding but Friend's experience in finals football is invaluable around this time of the year.

Robinson says he has no concerns about Friend's lack of match fitness and rushing him back to play in the finals.

"If you're going to back anyone you'd back a 200-gamer like Jake," he said.

"Sam's been very, very good for us but Jake will be ready with a bit of luck."

 

 

Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >

 

Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >