Brisbane pushes for Hudson to play on

THE career that nearly didn’t happen seemingly refuses to end, with the Brisbane Lions in discussions with veteran ruckman Ben Hudson about putting a second retirement on hold and going around again in 2013.
Nanjing Night Net

An unfashionable 25 when he played his first game for Adelaide in 2004, the 33-year-old has so exceeded expectations in what was billed as a sole year in maroon that he is likely to plough on into a 10th season with his third club. ”There’s no doubt we’d love to see him play on for another year,” Lions ruck coach Jamie Charman said. ”The coaching staff say just about every week, ‘Thank god we’ve had him along.’ He’s probably been our best recruit.”

The Lions this week trumpeted the re-signing of youngsters Claye Beams and Josh Green and star runner Jed Adcock, but a contract extension for Hudson would be as welcomed as it was not so long ago unexpected. Recruited effectively as back-up and educator to Matthew Leuenberger and Billy Longer, he has been, said Charman, ”our No. 1 man”.

Hudson played the last of his 88 games for the Western Bulldogs in round 24 last year, and returned to his native Queensland intent on raising a young family and resuming the physiotherapy career that was put on hold when Adelaide drafted him in 2003. His football plans amounted to plodding around in the QAFL.

Enticed to saddle up for a ninth season, he has thrived like a good beard, playing 16 games to take his career tally to 159 after Leuenberger tore his Achilles in round three, while Longer, 19, has managed five games amid his own injury trials. Charman says whether Hudson plays again will ultimately be his decision. ”You know every week what you’re going to get out of him, and that’s a consistent effort,” said Charman, noting the nous and desperation when the ball hits the ground that squares off the younger giants outjumping him at bounces. ”Because he’s so competitive he doesn’t get dominated. He’s a great character off the field, but he’s highly, highly competitive on it.”

After overcoming the embarrassment of being chaired off alongside Barry Hall last August then reappearing in a different jumper come round one, Hudson has enjoyed his lifeline immensely. ”It’s amazing how being scared of looking like an old codger can get you through,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.