Sydney Roosters captain Jake Friend is to be released from the final year of his playing contract, in order for the Bondi club to accustom Cooper Cronk.
Cronk announced that he'll play on next year, with the Roosters in the box seat to secure his signature. However, one player will need to be forced out, and unfortunately, that player will be long-serving Rooster Jake Friend.
The hooker role is set to be fought out by Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary.
Friend began his career with the Roosters in 2008 and was axed from their squad in 2009. He fought back though, and in 2015 was handed the captaincy after the retirement of Anthony Minichiello. Since, Friend has been rated the second-best hooker in Australia, behind Cameron Smith.
Mark Geyer predicted the possibility of Friend departing last week:
“The Roosters are saying they won’t release Mitchell Pearce if they get Cooper Cronk,” Geyer told Triple M.
“I’d put Pearce hooker and he (Friend) might have to look at another club.
“You’re going to have Cronk, you’re going to have (James) Tedesco…you’ve got Pearce, Friend.
“Most league fans, if they see Tedesco has gone to the Roosters as well as Cooper Cronk, they will be going ‘c’mon man…really?’”
Friend has strived week in week out for the Roosters, helping them deliver a premiership in 2013.
The hooker's next destination is unknown, however, he's highly unlikely to remain at Bondi for next season.