Friend's Origin hopes shot as Hunt goes on

Jake Friend (L) holds the Anzac Day Cup after the Sydney Roosters' NRL defeat of St George Illawarra
Jake Friend (L) holds the Anzac Day Cup after the Sydney Roosters' NRL defeat of St George Illawarra

Ben Hunt is almost certainly Queensland's next starting hooker with Jake Friend's hopes of a State of Origin debut seemingly crushed by a biceps rupture.

Friend received the worst possible news on Friday when scans confirmed he'd suffered a serious injury in Thursday's win over St George Illawarra.

The Roosters will wait until he sees a surgeon to determine the length of his layoff, with some small hope he might avoid an operation and the three-four months on the sidelines that come with it.

The Dragons on Friday also sent Hunt for scans on the shoulder injury which forced him off the field in the Anzac Day clash, but club officials were confident it was only a bad cork.

Regardless, it highlights the concern around the dummy-half role for Queensland, given incumbent Andrew McCullough is out of form after replacing the retired Cameron Smith last year.

Hunt has also only started at No.9 six times in the NRL and never in representative football.

Friend's injury is also a particularly cruel blow for the 29-year-old, who for so long had to bide his time with Smith captaining Queensland.

"He wasn't the best (after the game) understandably," Roosters and NSW captain Boyd Cordner said.

"Friendy has been knocking on the door for a while now ... he's a passionate guy and passionate Queenslander.

"I know how much that jersey would mean to him ... He's playing the best he has in his career.

"He has all the attributes to play State of Origin."

On return from a shoulder injury against the Dragons, Friend starred and looked as if he was about to play himself into the Maroons' side.

He outshone Hunt, kicking a 40-20 out of dummy-half in the lead-up to one try and forcing an error after coming back on the field despite the injury to set up the final four-pointer.

He also pulled off a try-saving tackle on Hunt as the Dragons' No.7 scooted out of dummy-half, forcing the ball free just as the Saints looked set to mount a comeback.

"It's upsetting, disappointing - all those things," Roosters and former Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk said.

"When someone has been doing a lot of the little things over a long period of time, they deserve a bit of a reward for that.

"Some of the guys who do the little things, that understand desire, can sometimes override skill - those are the guys suited for Origin. Jake has that in bucketloads."

Australian Associated Press