Ben Hudson
Ben Hudson

Ahead of what is already the toughest assignment for a ruckman in the AFL, Brisbane veteran Ben Hudson has wished his West Coast counterpart Nic Naitanui all the best in his push for more protection from umpires.

But the 33-year-old doubts the Eagles star will get what he wants.

Earlier in the week, Naitanui complained to the Perth press that he is being unfairly and illegally impeded by opposition ruckmen, who run past the ball and crash into him instead of taking on the 201cm giant in a vertical jump battle.

Hudson, who faces the daunting task of matching up against Naitanui and Dean Cox when the Lions go west for Sunday's match at Patersons Stadium, says he has been there and done that when it comes to appealing for free kicks.

And he doesn't have much to show for it.

"I've tried in the past to make umpires aware of a lot of things but I don't think they listen," he said on Thursday morning.

"Half his luck if it works. I'm old, can't jump and I've just had a kid so hopefully the umpires can look after me as well."

The former Adelaide and Western Bulldogs big man says he couldn't even change his style of rucking if he wanted to.

"The great thing about Aussie Rules is that it brings all different body types together," he said.

"Blokes are going to use what they're good at, whether it be (crashing into your opponent) or using your pace and agility.

"That's what people love and I don't think that's going to change.

"If blokes are breaking the rules and the umpire sees it, they're going to call it."

Mathematically speaking, the 13th-placed Lions are all but out of the race for a finals spot - but Hudson says there is still plenty to play for.

As their vastly-improved season reaches the home stretch, he backed captain Jonathan Brown's remarks in saying it was important they finished 2012 off on the right note.

"We've had a few steps forward compared to last year but it'll mean nothing if we peter out and limp over the line," he said.

"West Coast over there is a huge scalp and it'll do wonders for our confidence (if we can win), so if we can do that then we'll see how we go (after that).

"We're quietly confident we're going about things the right way.

"If we can match it with them it'll do wonders going forward."


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