Former NRL stars says late mail is Jake Friend will play in the Grand Final.
Former NRL stars says late mail is Jake Friend will play in the Grand Final.

Roosters set to pull selection shock

THE Sydney Roosters head into the 2019 NRL grand final as the overwhelming favourites as they go up against the Canberra Raiders.

After finishing the season second on the ladder, the Roosters have flexed their muscles in the finals with wins over South Sydney and Melbourne.

Now they'll look to become the first team to win back-to-back premierships since the Brisbane Broncos achieved the feat back in 1992-93.

Last year the Roosters went into the game with an injured Cooper Cronk, but still emerged victorious. This year, according to former NRL and Roosters star Bryan Fletcher, they're considering rolling the dice once again.

The Roosters named co-captain Jake Friend as a reserve for Sunday's grand final, but Fletcher says the mail is he'll not only play - but start.

"There's a bit of mail Jake Friend will start with the young kid (Sam) Verrills coming off the bench," Fletcher said.

"I understand where Robbo (coach Trent Robinson) is coming from. Jake Friend ... he's a legend of the club. Robbo is big on loyalty ... I just don't know that the match fitness will be great for Jake Friend.

Trent Robinson is reportedly set to play Jake Friend.
Trent Robinson is reportedly set to play Jake Friend.

"It's either going to be (Zane) Tetvano or Nat Butcher who will have to make way because Lindsay Collins has obviously made way.

"That's the mail going around. Whether it comes to fruition we won't know, but it's pretty strong."

Friend has only played five games for the Roosters in 2019 with his last appearance coming in round 18 against the Newcastle Knights.

He has been battling to recover from a calf injury along with a shoulder problem and a related infection that kept him sidelined.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson stated the team line-up won't be revealed until the last minute, but Friend remains bullish about his chances after coming close to taking on Melbourne in the preliminary final.

Jake Friend hasn’t played since July.
Jake Friend hasn’t played since July.

"I want to be there, I'm going to do everything I can," Friend said. "I'm positive because of everything I did last week.

"We'll assess it today and I'll get going in the next few days and hopefully get through the big sessions at the end of the week and straight into a grand final."

Having not played since July 20, Friend knows the decision to name him carries a big risk for the Roosters but is confident in being able to mentally push through.

"You get match fit by playing matches and I haven't had that," Friend said.

"But I think I've done enough around training and I've done it enough times to know what's going to come.

"A big game like a grand final, I'm hoping I can mentally push through whatever fatigue I have."

The AFL Grand Final faced injury dramas last weekend when GWS skipper Phil Davis underwent a last minute fitness test before he was named.

Friend stated if his body tells him he isn't right to go he'll make the call to pull himself out of the team.

"If my body does rule me out, I've got to just cop that," Friend said. "It's about what's best for the team and if I'm not right I'm not going to play, it's too big of a game to go into at 70 or 80 per cent.

"We'll come to that decision when we have to. I'm confident I'll be able to get my calf right."

NRL 2019 GRAND FINAL TEAMS

RAIDERS: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric, Jarrod Croker (c), Joseph Leilua, Jordan Rapana, Jack Wighton, Aidan Sezer, Josh Papalii, Josh Hodgson (c), Iosia Soliola, John Bateman, Elliott Whitehead, Joseph Tapine.

Interchange: Bailey Simonsson, Emre Guler, Corey Horsburgh, Dunamis Lui.

Reserves: Sam Williams, Ryan Sutton, Siliva Havili, Sebastian Kris.

ROOSTERS: James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Latrell Mitchell, Joseph Manu, Brett Morris, Luke Keary, Cooper Cronk, Isaac Liu, Sam Verrills, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner (c), Mitchell Aubusson, Victor Radley.

Interchange: Angus Crichton, Zane Tetevano, Nat Butcher, Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Reserves: Sitili Tupouniua, Drew Hutchison, Jake Friend (c), Ryan Hall.

News Corp Australia

Cheers for Noosa’s wild koala survival

Cheers for Noosa’s wild koala survival

Noosa Parks looks at koala survival over drinks at the pub.

Sunnies mistaken for gun in offender restraint

premium_icon Sunnies mistaken for gun in offender restraint

Man was not going for a gun - it was just a pair of dropped sunglasses.

Year 12’s leave their legacy

Year 12’s leave their legacy

They may have finished their schooling journey but the 2019 cohort at one local...