Friend’s ‘disappointing’ concussion reality

Jake Friend‘s roommate for the past decade Jared Waerea-Hargreaves believes it’s “disappointing” the Sydney Roosters co-captain is looking like he won’t go out on his own terms following his concussion struggles.

Waerea-Hargreaves anointed Friend the ultimate competitor as the veteran hooker weighs up retirement after suffering three head knocks in his last six games.

“I’ve roomed with Jake for 10 years now and I think the position he is in is a tough one,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.

“He has been a warrior for us at the Roosters, and to go out not on his own terms is definitely the disappointing part.

“But he has got a family now, he is a new father, and there are bigger and other things to life than just footy.

“For my roomy, he is in the right hands and no doubt he will make the right decision.

“We are just here as mates and trying to comfort him the right way.”

Jake Friend’s stellar career may be cut short due to his ongoing concussion struggles. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

As a proud father himself, Waerea-Hargreaves understands the importance of family.

He also knows the challenge that Friend is facing contemplating parting ways with a game he has played at the highest level since 2008.

“It is hard – you’ve been playing this game for so long that you really love and you are passionate about,” he said.

“But you also have another long time of life left. Your kids put another perspective on life, but you also don’t want to use that as an excuse.

“You want to keep putting one foot forward and I think when you are in love with the game and you’ve been doing it for so long, it makes it a tough decision to make.

“But he is coming in here every day with the right attitude, as he has done for so long.

“He is still running around training with a big smile on his face.”

Waerea-Hargreaves is pleased with how the Roosters have dealt with concussion in recent seasons.

The likes of Friend, Luke Keary and Boyd Cordner have all battled symptoms, but the club has remained patient with their return to field.

Young playmaker Sam Walker excelled on debut for the Sydney Roosters against the Warriors. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

“I think we are the first to address it (concussion) the way that we have,” he said.

“It has become serious in the last few years, so it is a credit to our club, Robbo and our medical staff and all the specialists that have been involved.”

The Roosters have been hit hard following long-term injuries to Keary (ACL), Lachlan Lam (MCL) and Cordner and Friend’s concussions, but the Tricolours refuse to give in.

This never-say-die attitude was on display in the Roosters’ big win over the Warriors last weekend – highlighted by the starring debut of halfback Sam Walker.

Waerea-Hargreaves couldn’t be happier with his team’s ability to rebound from adversity.

“I’m really proud of the resilience within the squad,” he said.

“The belief is really strong, and we’ve got the attitude of the next man stepping in will do a job and you’ve just got to adapt.

“If anything, us older guys get excited about these younger guys debuting, like Sammy Walker, who was great on debut for us.”

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