Roosters great Friend retires after repeated concussions

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former Australia international Jake Friend announced his retirement with immediate effect on Thursday after receiving "extensive medical advice" about the potential impact of repeated concussions on his health.

The 31-year-old hooker's 14th season with the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League (NRL) lasted 47 minutes before he was taken off the field with his third concussion in his last six matches.

"It wasn't an easy decision to come to but it's one that's right for myself, my family and the Roosters," Friend said in a video posted on the NRL website.

"It's a tough way to go out, but that's footy and that's life."

A one-club man, Queenslander Friend joined the Roosters as a 15-year-old and went on to win three NRL titles under coach Trent Robinson in 2013, 2018 and 2019 -- the second as co-captain with Boyd Cordner.

"Jake has been an incredible player and leader for the Roosters, and while I know that he won't be comfortable with the accolades, it's important we acknowledge his achievements over the years," Robinson said in a statement.

"Jake's place in Roosters' history is assured. He is a man of integrity, and his leadership has been a key driver of the club's success. He has made those around him better and I've loved coaching him."

A tough competitor in the most exposed position in the game, Friend won one Kangaroos cap in 2016 and played three State of Origin matches in 2020.

He would almost certainly have been handed more representative honours had he not been behind the recently retired Cameron Smith in the pecking order for both Queensland and Australia.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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