Friend and Cordner on verge of joining elite Roosters club
HE wasn't always a good Friend.
There was a time when Jake Friend was a bad Friend, back in 2009, when he was suspended for drink-driving offences and then temporarily sacked from the club for getting into a bust-up with a taxi driver.
Ten years on and it is his chance to lead his Roosters teammates out in what could be the pinnacle moment of his career - Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.
Good friend and co-captain Boyd Cordner led the side out of the tunnel in last week's preliminary final so, as has been the case all year, Friend assumes the role on Sunday.
"I'm obviously very proud to be captain of this side with Boydo," Friend told AAP this week.
"But I suppose personally, it's pretty awesome to be able to run a team out in a grand final. I'll be doing everything I can to be there with Boydo lifting that shield."
Like many players, Friend has endured a long journey to get to this point in his career.
When Friend famously paid his penance by working as a sandwich hand in December 2009, Melbourne counterpart Cameron Smith had just led his team to his first grand final victory.
Friend hasn't put a foot wrong since, but he's never forgotten the time when he strayed.
"A lot of players do, and a lot of people do. Very rarely do you hear people just having to breeze through, unless you're Cameron Smith," Friend said.
"But that was a long time ago. It is what it is. I learnt a lot in those times.
"Now it's all about this week. This team's put themselves in a position that we have, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do."
While the 28-year-old is arguably in the prime of his career, he is stunned at speculation his counterpart could opt to hang up the boots with a premiership.
Friend still regards Smith as the premier hooker in the competition.
"Obviously he's a great player of the game. I definitely think he could play on, form-wise. That's clear to see. But I guess that's a decision he has to make," Friend said.
PREMIERSHIP-WINNING ROOSTERS CAPTAINS - Anthony Minichiello (2013) - Brad Fittler (2002) - Arthur Beetson (1974-75) - Ray Stehr (1940, 1945) - Dave Brown (1935-37) - Henry Caples (1923) - Larry O'Malley (1912) - Dally Messenger (1911, 1913)