Watson 'Friend-zoned' despite strong showing

Roosters co-captain Jake Friend says he will be right to go for Friday night's clash against the Sea Eagles after missing his side's 20-6 win over the Rabbitohs last week through injury.

The 27-year-old hadn't missed a game in nearly two years but was forced to sit out the Roosters' fourth-straight win after he copped a knock to the mouth in the final minute of the Round 3 clash against the Panthers.

"I got hit with something – an elbow or something – and it pushed my three front teeth in," he said on Monday morning.

"I went and got them pulled back and now I've got a wire holding them in place. The dentist said that should keep them there and hopefully I don't get a whack and lose my front teeth.

"[My mouthguard] came flying out but it still bumped all the teeth back. I'm starting to eat again which is nice."

Friend's absence paved the way for new recruit Paul Carter to make his Tricolours debut – ironically against his former club – while Connor Watson provided a spark off the bench when he came on midway through the first half.

Watson – who was named player of the tournament at this year's Auckland Nines – particularly impressed his skipper, with Friend predicting big things from the Roosters utility as the season wears on.

"He's got that ability to play anywhere and play well anywhere which is awesome for us. He's going to be really useful for us this year. As the year progresses and injuries and fatigue come in, he's going to be a vital part of our team," he said.

"It's tough watching [from the stands] because you always want to be out there, but it was good to see the boys get a win and that was the main thing that I was worried about.

"It was good to see Connor and Paul Carter get a bit of game time and I thought both of them played really well. It was tough for me, but at the end of the day it was probably a good decision."

Mitch Aubusson, who has long been considered the club's Mr. Fix-it, said Watson's form gave the rest of the side confidence knowing they can get the job done when experienced players like Friend were missing. 

"He showed in the Nines [how good he can be]. He's going to be really good for us now and in the future," Aubusson said.

"Obviously Jake is a massive part of our team and we knew that we were going to miss him and guys had to step him.

"The guys that came in were really good so it's pleasing to see that those guys can come in and fill that position, but hopefully Jake will be right this week."