Jake Friend of the Roosters puts in a kick down field.
Jake Friend of the Roosters puts in a kick down field.

Taylor, Johns hand Cronk his Tricolour Cam Smith

JT is helping Jake Friend mix up the way he plays.

Not the JT you're thinking of, with the funny laugh, but Roosters assistant coach Jason Taylor.

Andrew Johns is helping, too.

This year, you'll see Friend running a lot more than usual.

He'll also continue to develop his kicking game. He showed glimpses of that in the Roosters' trail win over Manly on the weekend.

Essentially, the hooker will adopt a Cameron Smith-esque attitude towards his football this year.

It's something Friend not only identified himself but has had highlighted in video sessions with Taylor.

"It's something I wasn't happy with last year," Friend told foxsports.com.au of his game.

"It comes from the defensive load and the fatigue.

"It made me put a bit more focus on it. It's been good having JT back. He goes through a lot of that stuff with me. He was there in '13 and '14 where I was doing a lot more of that, so it's good to have him back.

"Him (Taylor) knowing my style helps. He says 'you could've done this or that'. He's been really good with that.

"Hopefully with a few new combos, we can get some good attacking footy going."

Jake Friend barks commands at his troops.
Jake Friend barks commands at his troops.

Gone are the days of the tackling machine being too gassed to run.

Friend reflected on 2017 knowing that was a change he had to make.

It's not a directive of Trent Robinson but a conscious effort to expand his skillset.

It'll also take the pressure of the club's marquee man Cooper Cronk.

Friend knows if he continues his stand-and-deliver style without looming as a genuine threat to the markers, his new No.7 will be feeling the heat.

"The last few years have been very defence-orientated for me," he explained.

"It's been part of my game since I was nine and I've always enjoyed the defence and got through a lot of it but I do want to focus on getting on that attacking play back in my game.

"With the kicking and a bit with me and Teddy around the ruck, getting out and running - I'll be running a bit more than I have the last few years.

"I want to get the forwards rolling onto the ball. It's only going to help my game and Cooper's ability to play on the front foot."

Jake Friend of the Roosters passes the ball.
Jake Friend of the Roosters passes the ball.

Entering his 11th season in the top grade, Friend helped guide the Roosters to a premiership in 2013 when playing a more attacking brand of football.

It's something he drifted away from over the past two seasons.

That's where the Eighth Immortal, Johns, has come in to help. With Cronk and Tedesco the fresh faces in Bondi, fans can expect the trio to be combining much more than the Roosters spine of previous seasons.

"We're doing a bit of stuff with Joey as halves," he said.

"We've had a lot of real simple skills and simple combos.

"The more games we play, the more stuff will pop up and we can try.

"I'm looking forward to getting into the season and see what we can come up with."

Aside from sparking the Roosters' attack, Friend has also set a goal for himself to get his big men rolling onto the ball.

The club's forward pack was lumped with much of the blame after they lost to North Queensland in the grand final qualifier last year.

It's a criticism that's lit a fire in the belly of his pack.

"I think we've got a really good pack again," he said.

"For our team to go well, our forward pack has to perform, they'll be looking to do that this year and do that straight away."