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Jake Friend Announces His Immediate Retirement

Sydney Roosters Captain Jake Friend has today announced his immediate retirement from rugby league.

Friend said his decision had been made following extensive medical advice.

Player number 1083, 31-year-old Friend retires as the fourth most-capped player in the Foundation Club’s proud history with 264 games played between 2008-2021, and is the last of those recruited by the legendary Arthur Beetson.

“I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league,” said Friend.

Statement from Jake Friend

“I was 15 when I joined the Roosters and have loved every minute of the journey. 

“There are so many people who have played an important role in my career, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all.

“I can’t thank the Roosters staff enough, especially Cathy King, Craig Fitzgibbon, Travis Touma, my teammates Mitch Aubusson, my roomie Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and my manager Steve Gillis who have been on this journey with me since day one. 

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the sponsors, members and supporters of this great club.”

“I’m proud to be able to say that I was recruited to the Roosters by Arthur Beetson and I’ll always be grateful for the day I met him. I wouldn’t be here without him.

I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league.

Jake Friend Rooster 1083

“To our Chairman Nick Politis and our Board of Directors, thank you for all your support. Nick, to you especially. The Roosters are so lucky to have had you leading the way for over 40 years now, and I thank you and the board for taking the chance on me all those years ago.

“I also want to make a special mention of Trent Robinson. Trent is the best coach I’ve ever had, and I’m a better player and man for the last 11 years I’ve known him. To our coaching and support staff, thank you for setting the bar every day.”

“I’ve played with some pretty special people here at the Roosters over the years, many I’m proud to call my closest friends, and I’d like to thank them. To my current teammates, it’s been an honour to play alongside you and to be your captain.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank my family; my mum, dad, brothers Zach and Sam, for all their support.

“To the two most important people in the world to me, my partner Jenna and our little boy Peter, I love you and I can’t wait to spend some more time with you,” he added.

Signed to the Roosters’ pathway program as a 15-year-old, Friend made his Club and NRL debut at the age of eighteen against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Round 16 of the 2008 season. He was named Captain of the Sydney Roosters in 2015 and is the second most-capped skipper (121) in the Club’s history behind only Brad Fittler (199).

He has played in four grand finals (2010, 2013, 2018, 2019), winning three Premierships (2013, 2018, 2019). He played one Test for Australia (2016) and represented Queensland on three occasions (2020), recognised for his efforts during the Maroons’ 2020 Origin win by being named recipient of the Ron McAuliffe Medal as Queensland’s Player of the Series.

Friend is a two-time recipient of the Jack Gibson Medal, awarded to the Roosters’ Player of the Year (2011, 2016) and was named the Sydney Roosters’ Clubman of the Year in 2018.

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.

Trent Robinson Roosters Head Coach

Sydney Roosters Head Coach Trent Robinson lauded Friend’s leadership and selflessness both on and off the field.

“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.

“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,” said Robinson.

Celebrating the Career of Jake Friend

Sydney Roosters Chairman, Nick Politis AM, said: “The name Jake Friend will always be synonymous with the Sydney Roosters.

“We all love Jake. He had been in our system since he was signed by Arthur Beetson as a 15-year-old and it makes me very proud to see the man he is today.

“On behalf of the Sydney Roosters Board of Directors, I would like to thank Jake for his remarkable contribution to the Club.”

Sydney Roosters Members and supporters will have the opportunity to celebrate the career of Jake Friend at the Roosters’ specially-themed Round 11 home game against the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday, May 22 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Further details will be provided in lead-up to the game.

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.