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Politis plans to make favourite son Friend a Chook for life

The Roosters plan to keep favourite son Jake Friend in red, white and blue for the rest of his career with year-by-year contracts, putting the No.9 in line to join the premiers' rarefied 300-game club.

"Jake Friend-style" football was the catchcry in the Roosters dressing sheds leading into last weekend's gutsy win over Parramatta in honour of their co-captain's 250th NRL game, coming 13 years after his first-grade debut.

Friend concedes he was "pretty uncomfortable" about the fuss coach Trent Robinson made over one of his favourite players on game-day, organising video messages from his grandparents and close family to be played to the team before kick-off.

But the Roosters would have it no other way, with chairman Nick Politis paying tribute to Friend and outlining how the club plans to keep the off-contract 30-year-old for as long as he can keep lacing up the boots.

"He wants to keep playing a year at a time, so that's what we'll look to do," Politis told

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"Sometime toward the end of the season we'll renew again for a year and we'll see how we go. Year-by-year is what's been suggested and we're quite happy with that and we'll see how it goes.

"I'm very, very proud of Jake and how far he's come since coming to the club as a 16, 17-year-old from Queensland.

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"He had his issues early on and we terminated his contract, but we gave him a second chance because we could see he had good character.

"You wouldn't do it for someone who didn't have the qualities we see in him.

"We supported him and he's repaid that ten-fold. He's a good person, a good captain, he's gone into a couple of businesses, he's engaged to a beautiful girl and it's been a great outcome for everyone, and we're all incredibly proud of him."

Friend is already sitting fourth for most appearances in Roosters colours, behind only Anthony Minichiello (302 games), Luke Ricketson (301) and fellow 2007 debutant Mitch Aubusson (293).

While Friend missed all but six matches 2019 and was no certainty for the grand final right up until game-day, last year was the only full season of his career where he made less than 19 appearances.

His form resurgence and revered standing at the Roosters has also dispelled suggestions back-up hooker Sam Verrills could push Friend out of the No.9 jumper.

Staying injury-free throughout 2020 and 2021 would take the three-time premiership winner within striking distance of the 300-game mark.

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It would be a phenomenal feat of endurance given Friend has pushed through a potentially life-threatening punctured lung in 2014, played with broken bones and made over 10,000 tackles in his career.

A full off-season of recovery combined with the NRL's COVID-19 delay has Friend fit, firing and eyeing a new Roosters deal.

"For me, it was a blessing in disguise to rebuild everything and get a lot of strength work in that I probably couldn't have done with weekly games," he said.

"I'm really enjoying my footy and stringing my game together.

"I've re-signed here time after time and I'd like to do the same again.

"Obviously I'm off-contract at the end of the year, so the plan is to keep winning and hopefully have a chat at the end of the year."

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.