Magpie ruck coach Hudson in line for rookie spot

Magpie ruck coach Hudson in line for rookie spot

Maybe it's because he didn't make his AFL debut until he was 25, but it seems former Crow, Dog and Lion Ben Hudson is unable to stay retired.

Collingwood is the latest club contemplating resurrecting the 33-year-old ruckman's career, officially applying to the AFL for permission for him to commence training with the Magpies, with the aim to recruit him in the upcoming rookie draft.

Carlton's Jarrad Waite is pushed away by Ben Hudson during one of the Lion's final AFL games in August.

Carlton's Jarrad Waite is pushed away by Ben Hudson during one of the Lion's final AFL games in August.

Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Hudson was originally hired as a ruck coach, with specific responsibility to mentor young giants Jarrod Witts and the recently-drafted Brodie Grundy, but the club wants a senior back-up for Darren Jolly, 30, who showed signs of wear during 2012.

Hudson quit the Western Bulldogs two years ago, and returned to his home state of Queensland. The Lions convinced him to sign on as a back-up for Matthew Leuenberger, and he became an important player for Brisbane in 18 games after their young ruckman was injured.

“Ben will work closely with our young ruckmen and we think, with his experience and example, he will be outstanding in that role,” Collingwood football director, Geoff Walsh, said.


"But we have also committed to selecting Ben in the rookie draft if he nominates because we think he can also offer strong support to Darren Jolly as the two young boys mature. Ben had a fine season for Brisbane this year and as we see it he should be able to help us in a number of ways. If he nominates, and is available, we will be picking him.”

Hudson has played 161 games for Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane since 2004. A hardy, physical competitor, proficient against bigger opponents despite lacking a big leap, Hudson is extremely effective at ground level, and would complement the similar attributes of Jolly, potentially allowing the Magpies to ease its premier big man through the season with a reduced workload. Witts and Grundy are youngsters years away from offering the experience and physical maturity Collingwood seeks for its elite midfield, and Quinten Lynch was recruited as a specialist relief ruckman/forward. The Magpie ruck stocks were thin after the recent delistings of Cameron Wood and Jonathan Ceglar.

Hudson is due to star work at the Westpac Centre on Tuesday, and will join the club on its training trip to Utah early next week.

Will Brodie

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