Friendly fire threatens Roosters' run
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Sydney Roosters' NRL top-four hopes have been dealt another blow with inspirational co-captain Jake Friend ruled out for up to a month.
Friend broke his hand during a training session on Tuesday and underwent surgery on Wednesday. Roosters staffers said it is hoped that the hooker will be back on the paddock in four weeks.
Friend's injury comes after fullback Michael Gordon was ruled out for the rest of the regular season on Tuesday with a pectoral injury suffered in last weekend's win over South Sydney.
The injury worries come at a crucial time for the tri-colours who have a difficult month ahead with clashes against first-placed Melbourne, fourth-ranked Manly and North Queensland in the coming weeks.
The Roosters are currently third on the premiership ladder with 26 points but are only two points clear of the Cowboys in sixth.
Friend's absence is set to test the Roosters' front-line depth at hooker after the club recently released Paul Carter who deputised for Friend earlier this year.
Connor Watson shapes as the likely front-runner to take the position after their round 19 bye, given he come off the bench for Friend in other games this year.
Watson also would have been considered as a replacement for Gordon at the back, along with centre Latrell Mitchell.
Utility Mitchell Aubusson played two games out of dummy-half at the end of 2014 when Friend was injured, while the club blooded youngster Grant Garvey there at the end of last year.