Sydney Roosters star Mitchell Pearce is hopeful hooker Jake Friend can make a miraculous finals return after a life-threating chest injury.
Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce has backed “toughest” teammate Jake Friend to play a part in the side’s NRL finals campaign after a life-threatening hemothorax injury.
Pearce, who starred in the Roosters’ round 26 win over bitter rivals South Sydney on Thursday, visited Friend in hospital earlier this week, where the star hooker was recovering from surgery.
The NSW playmaker hopes the Queenslander can regain his health and rejoin the team at some stage of their finals tilt.
“It’s not a nice thing to see a teammate and a mate in that situation,” Pearce said.
“Hopefully he recovers well and we get him back out on the field in the next few weeks.
“He’s the toughest bloke I know and all the boys would say the same thing.
“Getting back on the paddock mentally won’t be a problem for him.”
Friend took a number of blows to his chest during the Roosters’ win over Melbourne last Saturday, leading to the condition in which blood fills the lung cavity.
He played out the match, but awoke on Sunday morning coughing up blood and was rushed to hospital.
Friend is now back on his feet and watched the reigning premiers’ final home-and-away game from the coaches box.
“He’s still a little bit pale,” Pearce said.
“To see him there in pain, there’s no doubt you want to play that bit better for him.”