Injury ends 25-year-old Seagulls coach's playing career
AN ANKLE injury may have caused an early end to 25-year-old Jai Ingram's career.
The Hervey Bay Seagulls player-coach suffered a serious ankle injury in the final minutes of the side's 26-24 win against Easts Magpies last week.
He was taken from the field on a medicab, and teammate Damien Otto told media after full-time Ingram said it was broken.
Early scans came back with the worst possible news for Ingram.
The utility's ankle is so badly damaged he will require surgery to repair his ligaments.
It marks not only an early end to his Bundaberg Rugby League season, but an early end to his playing career.
"I hoped for the fairytale ending," Ingram said.
"I wanted to put a full stop on the career last year but it is what it is.
"My body just isn't up to it any more."
Ingram was formerly contracted National Rugby League clubs Gold Coast Titans, North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm, but his professional career was also cut short by injury.
After he goes under the knife, Ingram will have had major surgery on both ankles, knees and his groin.
He moved to Hervey Bay last year with retirement in mind, but took the reins at a Seagulls outfit hungry to defend its BRL title.
It is the second consecutive year Hervey Bay's coach has been injured in the team's run to a premiership.
Tye Ingebrigtsen broke his hand in the Seagulls' major semi final win over Wests Panthers in 2016, and was forced to watch his side claim their first title in 15 years from the bench.
Ingram faces the same future, but was confident of the same result.
"The boys play better without me," Ingram said.
"Throughout the group there's a good mixture of youth, experience and ability, and I believe the Seagulls have what it takes to win the 2017 premiership."
Hervey Bay will face Wave Tigers as the club hunts for its third straight minor premiership.