Corey Parker and Nathan Friend collide again after broken jaw and a 15-year friendship — Pressure Gauge

They’ve been mates for 15 years; despite the fact Corey Parker once broke Nathan Friend’s jaw.

So it’s only fair the retiring Gold Coast skipper gets the chance to end Parker’s career earlier than he would like.

Parker has never left Brisbane in 345 games.

Friend is back at the Titans for a second and final stint, having started alongside Parker at Red Hill with one solitary game for the Broncos in 2002.

He went to Melbourne, then the Gold Coast. Then across the ditch, where in 2012 he played 75 minutes and made 49 tackles for the Warriors with a broken jaw, sustained in an attempted tackle on Parker.

“(The doctor) knew it was broken and I asked him nicely if I could play on,” Friend said in the aftermath of an upset 30-20 win over his former Broncos teammates.

“I don’t think I’ll be in a toothpaste commercial any time soon. My modelling career is over.”

Friend’s hopes of gracing the catwalk may have been dusted, and there’s no word yet on those of silver fox Parker.

The pair remain good friends and broke bread over breakfast earlier this week, ahead of Friday’s sudden-death Suncorp encounter.

But with both veterans retiring at the end of the year, the 35-year-old Titans skipper is well aware one of them will be bowing out come full-time, in the biggest derby yet between the two south-east Queensland outfits.

“I’ve thought about it. It’s funny how the wheel turns,” Friend told of he and Parker winding up together.

“It all started with Brisbane.

“Hopefully it’s not my last and it’s Corey’s. I thought I’d better rib him before he ribs me.

“We go beyond the Broncos. We were in reserve grade together and spent some quality time there.

“We’ve had the opportunity to play with and against each other over the 15 years.”

Back playing finals for the first time since leaving the Gold Coast in 2011, Friend has done this dance with Brisbane and Parker before, playing off the bench in Melbourne’s 2006 grand final defeat to the maroon and gold.

Coming back to a Titans outfit tipped to claim this year’s wooden spoon though, Friend wasn’t expecting one last crack at revenge.

“It was the farthest thing from my thoughts, the finals,’ he said.

“The goal was to come back (to the Titans) and enjoy where I left the place.

“I knew it was a team being reshuffled. New coaching staff and they had some high hopes but we had no big names and a lot of young guys.

“Talking to Neil before signing, I thought it would be great for me to come back and guide some of the young guys around.”

Co-captain of a side punching well above its weight, Friend has helped guide those young guys to an unexpected finals foray and earned himself one last shot at a good mate.