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Five of the Best: Friendy's Best Performances

As the Sydney Roosters take on the Brisbane Broncos this Saturday in our Round 11 clash, we celebrate the career of fearless captain Jake Friend - and what better way to do so than highlighting some of his finest performances in the Red, White and Blue?

While there were plenty of memorable moments to look back on, we've narrowed it down to Five of the Best.

Top of the World: World Club Challenge 2014

Fresh off their 2013 NRL Premiership triumph, the Sydney Roosters hosted Super League champions Wigan at the Sydney Football Stadium in early 2014 with Friend determined to crown his side as world champions.

Kick-starting the scoring with quick service from dummy-half, the crafty hooker set up the next two tries, firstly by throwing a well-timed for Sam Moa, before putting the Tricolours up 18-nil with a stabbing grubber kick into the in-goal.

Winners are Grinners: The Sydney Roosters led by Anthony Minichiello claimed their third World Club Challenge in 2014.
Winners are Grinners: The Sydney Roosters led by Anthony Minichiello claimed their third World Club Challenge in 2014.

Despite a short-lived comeback in the second half from the Wigan Warriors, Friend sealed the victory by laying on another try close to the line, this time sending roommate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves over for a memorable four-pointer.

As the Roosters were crowned World Champions for the third time, it was no surprise to see Friend named as man of the match.

Ashton-Collier Medallist: Anzac Day 2014

On one of the biggest days on the NRL calendar, Jake Friend produced one of the great performances in the 2014 Anzac Day clash.

After building an 18-4 lead at the break, the Roosters shot out of the blocks early in the second half, with the no.9 playing a starring role.

Five-Star Performance: Jake Friend claimed the Ashton-Collier Medal in the 2014 Anzac Day Cup match against the Dragons, putting in a man of the match performance.
Five-Star Performance: Jake Friend claimed the Ashton-Collier Medal in the 2014 Anzac Day Cup match against the Dragons, putting in a man of the match performance.

Thirty metres from the try line, Friend took off from dummy-half, putting a stabbing grubber kick through before beating three defenders to the ball and finishing off a memorable try which sent the Sydney Football Stadium crowd into raptures.

From there the Red, White and Blue continued their charge, eventually running away with a 34-14 win as Friend got to hard work with 46 tackles to his name, the most of any of his teammates.

Awarded best on ground, Friend was bestowed with the Ashton-Collier Medal, and remains as one of only four Roosters to claim the coveted award. 

The Perfect Game: Grand Final 2018 

One of the most storied victories in Club history, Friend himself described this one as 'the perfect game'.

Coming up against the defending premiers in the Melbourne Storm, the red-hot Roosters blew their opponents out of the water, with a 40-metre break from the captain a highlight in the first half as they cruised to an 18-nil lead at the break.

Despite holding a strong lead, the Roosters continued to display plenty of aggression in defence as they repelled their more fancied opponents with Friend playing a leading role by rag-dolling a runaway Josh Addo-Carr into touch.

Highlights | Grand Final

With the final touch of the ball, Friend capped off an unforgettable night by throwing it into the Red, White and Blue sea at ANZ Stadium, as the Club claimed their 14th Premiership.

"It's probably the closest I've been to in a team to go after a perfect game," he said.

"The way we started that game and played out that game it's probably one of the best games I've been involved with in my career.

"I've never walked off the field and been completely satisfied with a game I've played. I've always wanted that perfect game."

Down But Not Out: Anzac Day 2019 

It was another courageous performance on Anzac Day by the Roosters' no.9, but this time it was for his brave effort under adversity. 

As the Red, White and Blue claimed a solid 20-10 victory against the Dragons and their sixth in a row for season 2019, Friend played a big role in the win, firstly by kicking a 40/20 and setting up a try for Angus Crichton in the first half as the Roosters took a slender lead at the break. 

Highlights | Roosters v Dragons

The inspirational captain made sure to get through a ton of work on the other side of the ball too, saving a try by forcing the ball from Ben Hunt inches from the line, before helping to set up the match-sealing try with a crunching hit on Matt Dufty that found the ball in the hands of Siosiua Taukeiaho who streaked away to score. 

The most impressive part though? He did so after sustaining a ruptured bicep, playing through the pain to guide his side to victory. 

Although he would miss a chunk of the season, Friend saved his best performance of 2019 for last...

The Defensive Lynchpin: Grand Final 2019

As the Sydney Roosters aimed to become the first team in the NRL era to claim back-to-back Premierships, the dream nearly came undone as the Tricolours were down to 12 men midway through the second half. 

With half an hour left in the contest and holding a slender 8-6 lead against the Canberra Raiders, an illegal tackle from Cooper Cronk on Josh Papalii found the veteran halfback sent to the sin-bin.

Match Highlights | Roosters v Raiders

As their opponents levelled the scores with a penalty goal, the Roosters needed to hold off the raid - and did so through the leadership of Jake Friend, who was a late inclusion as he battled through injury during the season to take his place on the interchange bench. 

Steering the defence with aplomb, the tenacious skipper guided his side through a turbulent period without their talismanic halfback, and on the back of the defensive output, the Red, White and Blue landed the final blow in the 70th minute to retain the NRL Premiership trophy and claim their 15th Premiership.

 

More Five of the Best on Roosters.com.au

Five of the Best: Suncorp Stadium Spectacles

Five of the Best: Anzac Day Cup Matches

Five of the Best: Showdowns with the Sharks