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Teen Jet lucky to walk after crusher tackle

SORE BUT OKAY: Ipswich Jets player Ben White was glad he could still walk after a major fright in his latest match.
SORE BUT OKAY: Ipswich Jets player Ben White was glad he could still walk after a major fright in his latest match. Rob Williams

IPSWICH Jets player Ben White is lucky to be able to walk after fracturing two vertebrae at the weekend.

Playing fullback for the Jets Reserve grade (FOGS Cup) team against Redcliffe, White was pinned in a crusher tackle and felt and heard his spine crack under the pressure.

White described himself as "a bit sore and sorry" when he spoke to the QT yesterday, shortly before heading for MRI scans on his spine.

"I'm very happy, given the situation," White said.

"If I'd broken the bones all the way through I'd have been a paraplegic."

White's circumstances show why the crusher tackle has been such a talking point in rugby league in recent seasons and why authorities have clamped down hard on it.

Yet White's tackler on Saturday was not even penalised.

"I was tackled and ended up in a seated position,'' he said.

"Then another guy came and finished the tackle from behind, like a crusher tackle."

White knew immediately he was in trouble.

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"I've broken my leg before," he said.

"I heard the same sort of crunch and felt the same pain.

"I laid there.

"I didn't even put my hand up because I just knew something was wrong."

White was counting his blessings yesterday, knowing how lucky he is.

He is expected to make a full recovery and is keen to return to the Jets as soon as he can.

"I reckon I should be right by next year but it's a long road to recovery," the landscape gardener said.

Up until Saturday, the 19-year-old had enjoyed an impressive season, making four top grade appearances for the Jets.

His mother was there to watch him, along with a number of family friends who made the trip to Ipswich for White's final game of the season.

"I think mum wants me to give the game up but I'm not going to," White said.

"She was pretty calm actually."

White is one of three players to have joined the Jets from the Toowoomba Clydesdales colts team last year.

The other two are Chris Gelhaar and Haydan Lipp.

The three live together at Bundamba and have had mixed fortunes this season.

Lipp began the year in the top grade but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury early.

"We've both had some unfortunate injuries,' White said.

"But I've loved it at the Jets.

"It's been good.

"They've treated us really good and I've learned heaps too.

"I had the goal to make the top grade this year so it was good to reach that."

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