Friend finds an ally in Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Friend finds an ally in Roosters

By Steve Jancetic 02/10/2010 02:06:56 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters saved Jake Friend from taking a path he'd rather not contemplate, and now the crafty hooker says it's payback time.

Preparing for an NRL grand final against St George Illawarra less than 12 months after having his contract torn up, Friend said he owed the club everything for the way they stuck by him.

"Smithy (coach Brian Smith) has been unreal, I can't thank him enough," Friend said.

"I'm happy where I'm at now and I can't thank the Roosters enough for that. Everyone at the Roosters - the board, the coaching staff and the players - they've all been great.

"It makes me want to give my all and repay the club for how loyal they've been to me and how they've stuck by me - I can't thank them enough."

Friend's chances of playing at all in the NRL let alone a grand final appeared remote when the Roosters sacked him following a string of alcohol-related incidents, the last of which was a altercation with a taxi driver in December last year.

But the Roosters refused to let Friend be lost to the rugby league scrapheap, the club putting him through a rehabilitation program with the prospect of a new playing contract at the end of it.

Reinstated to the playing ranks in May, the 20-year-old has proven to be a welcome addition to Smith's squad, with his scheming out of dummy-half complimented by a defensive resilience which bellies his small stature.

Looking back on his chequered past, Friend refuses to pass the buck when it comes to attributing blame for a career which was nearly over before it had even begun.

"From the start I always said I did the wrong thing and I had to deal with the consequences," he said.

"I'm not going to blame anyone, I chose to do what I did and I had to deal with the punishment for it.

"It's behind me now and I'm just looking forward to this weekend."

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