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Friend injury big blow for rising Roosters

Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend is unlikely to play again until at least the second week of the NRL finals due to a lung problem in a big blow to their premiership defence.
Friend injury big blow for rising Roosters
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Aug 31 AAP - Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend is unlikely to play again until at least the second week of the NRL finals due to a lung problem in a big blow to their premiership defence.

Friend suffered the injury in Saturday night's impressive 24-12 win over Melbourne at Allianz Stadium.

He later complained of shortness of breath and was admitted to hospital that night.

In a club statement on Sunday afternoon, the Roosters confirmed the in-form rake had been diagnosed with Haemothorax - a collection of blood in the lung cavity that may be caused by blunt or penetrating trauma.

The statement gave no indication of a recovery period.

Amid reports Friend underwent surgery on Sunday afternoon, Roosters legend Brad Fittler, who remains well connected at the Eastern Suburbs-based club, revealed on Channel Nine that Friend would be likely out for "two to three weeks".

Friend is certain to miss Thursday's final-round showdown with South Sydney at Allianz Stadium and that timeframe makes him an unlikely starter for the first round of the finals the week after.

Heath L'Estrange is a likely replacement for Friend if the Manly premiership winner has recovered sufficiently from a knee complaint suffered three weeks ago.

Utility Mitch Aubusson is another option at dummy-half for the Roosters, with last season's premiership-winning back-up No.9 Daniel Mortimer now with the Gold Coast after a mid-season move.

Either way, the true nature of the injury and the recovery time for Friend remains something of a mystery with halfback Mitchell Pearce admitting as much in a radio interview with Triple M.

"I know it is a lung thing, but apart from that I don't know too much," Pearce said.

"We just hope he is OK."

According to the Roosters statement, Friend remains in hospital while he undergoes further examination.

The Roosters' win secured them a top-four spot, equal on 34 points, a win behind ladder-leaders Manly who scored a thrilling come-from-behind 26-25 win over Penrith at a packed Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

Tom Symonds scored the match-winner with 68 seconds remaining after a plucky Penrith (fourth) had led for the entire contest.

In Sunday's other game, the Warriors (ninth) hammered the Gold Coast 42-0 in Auckland to keep their finals hopes alive.

Souths (second) edged Canterbury (sixth) 21-14 in a controversial opening to round 25 on Thursday night with Sam Burgess and Adam Reynolds starring for the Rabbitohs.

A shocking refereeing decision marred eighth-placed Brisbane's 30-22 win over St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night as the Dragons dipped out of the finals race.

Newcastle belted Parramatta 42-12 at Hunter Stadium on Saturday to all but end the Eels' season and Canberra handed the Wests Tigers their sixth straight defeat later that afternoon in the nation's capital in a match with no bearing on the playoffs.

Seventh-placed North Queensland host Cronulla in Townsville on Monday night in the final game of the penultimate round of the season.




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