Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend insists he’s not putting himself at risk of further health complications by playing this finals series.
Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend is confident he isn’t vulnerable to further health problems by playing out the NRL season.
Friend lost over two litres of blood a fortnight ago and was rushed to hospital with a life-threatening lung condition.
There were serious concerns about the 24-year-old’s well being, with his prospects of getting back on the field far from the most important thing on the minds of his partner, friends, family and the Roosters club.
But Friend, one of the toughest athletes in rugby league, recovered in time to take the field for Friday night’s epic 31-30 elimination final win over North Queensland, punching out 65 minutes and an ironman-like 44 tackles.
Next week the Roosters go up against the might of South Sydney’s hard-hitting forward pack in a blockbuster grand final qualifier.
Despite the fact Friend’s condition came about due to repeated knocks to the chest, he believes he’s not susceptible to more damage.
“It shouldn’t reoccur,” said Friend.
“I’m confident in my body and the medical staff, otherwise I wouldn’t have played. I was confident (last night) and I’ll be confident for next week.
“The way the doctor’s explained it, it was just repeated bumps. I was sore and a bit short of breathe. That was the main thing.
“I did everything during the week so I was pretty comfortable and confident going into the game.”
Mystery has surrounded exactly what went wrong for Friend, and he admits he’s not quite sure himself what caused him to collapse in the shower at home following the Roosters’ clash with Melbourne.
Friend credited his girlfriend – who found him and called an ambulance – for being his “rock” through the ordeal.
“I didn’t really understand until I woke up in hospital,” he said.
“I didn’t know it was that bad.
“It’s a bit scary when you think about it.
“I’m just glad that it was a quick recovery and I’ve been able to get back and play footy.
“My (girlfriend) she’s a rock. She was there for me the whole time. She was all good. Mum came down as well so it was good to see her.”
Friend’s time off the field on Friday coincided with the Cowboys monster comeback from 30-0 down to tie the match up with 24 minutes remaining.
The influential No.9 returned when the game was on the line, and it’s no coincidence the Roosters were able to return to their structures and stop the rot.
Friend said he could have probably played out 80 minutes if required, indicating he’ll be able to go the distance next week against Souths.
“I was blowing a bit in the first stint. Once you get past that first stint you get back into it,” he said.
“I probably could have kept playing.”