Friend set for huge battle with Broncos
FORMER Noosa Pirate Jake Friend will be out to spoil the Broncos' season when his Sydney Roosters take on Brisbane in this week's preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.
And if any team are going to swat away the champagne corks that have been flying around the Queensland capital of late, it is the Roosters.
The minor premier was in scintillating form on Friday night as it easily disposed of the Bulldogs 38-12 by belting the Canterbury side into submission.
Friend was a key contributor to the victory with the captain admirably guiding the tri-colours around the park with the precision that has many touting him as Cameron Smith's successor.
The former Coast junior said Friday night's match was always going to be a battle.
"We talked about that before the game about fighting hard for every inch," he said.
Friend will run out against another former Sunshine Coast junior in Broncos hard man, Matt Gillett.
Gillett has been in sensational form for much of the year highlighted by a strong Origin campaign for Queensland.
The back-rower has emerged as one of Brisbane's leaders in recent years with 2015 rating as one of his best seasons in recent memory.
And after earning a breather following last week's win over the Cowboys, Gillett said the Broncos would be better for the week off while the rest of the remaining sides bash each other in their quest to keep their seasons alive.
"We are glad that we do have the week off," he said.
"I like to have the break and mentally it is good for everyone, especially coming up against all these quality sides in the finals.
"We can get away from footy for a bit and go and spend some time with the family and come back and prepare for a big match."
Gillett was recently nominated for the Ken Stephen Medal in recognition to his work with disabled children.
"I get up the Coast there with kids with all different disabilities," Gillett said.
"We get together before the Queensland Cup home games (Sunshine Coast Falcons) so I get up there and run around with the kids and do my little bit.
"Just to help them out and hopefully it is beneficial for the kids and it has been good this year and hopefully over the next few years I will be there as well."
Former Noosa Pirate and Bulldogs No.6 Moses Mbye's season is now over following the loss.