Hudson key to Pies' plan

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 01 Januari 2013 | 14.43

Recruit Ben Hudson at Collingwood training. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

Collingwood skipper Nick Maxwell says the Pies are close to a premiership. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun

Nick Maxwell runs laps during Collingwood pre-season training at Gosch's Paddock. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun

COLLINGWOOD captain Nick Maxwell says Ben Hudson's recruitment emphasises the importance of fellow ruckman Darren Jolly to the club's premiership chances.

Maxwell said the off-season influx of senior players - Hudson, Quinten Lynch, Clinton Young and Jordan Russell - indicated the Pies thought they were close to a flag.

He said Hudson could be the most important recruit of the lot as support for 31-year-old Jolly.

"Obviously, Jols has been outstanding for us since he came to the club, but we've got to be careful about how we manage his loads and how much we ask him to do because he's done a lot of ruckwork, the majority of it by himself, since he's come to the club," Maxwell said.

"We've got to make sure we manage him and so Huddo is a good back-up for us and also a good guy to have teach our younger players.

"Quinten Lynch will do some ruckwork, but then guys like Jarrod Witts, who we expect big things from this year, is going to hopefully step up and keep developing.

"With him and young Brodie Grundy, we think that those guys are going to work well with Huddo in the VFL and he'll really help them to develop."

When clubs top up with experience, public opinion often suggests the club thinks it is close to fielding a premiership team. Maxwell said that was a fair assessment of the Pies.

"Absolutely, we definitely think we're close," he said.

"We finished fourth last year and we didn't play very well all year.

"We lost ... guys to long-term injuries during the year and those guys can't be replaced. Luke Ball, Brent Macaffer, Andrew Krakouer, Ben Johnson and Lachie Keeffe, all those guys are going to come in and basically be like new recruits for us."

Maxwell said he was confident Lynch, Young and Russell could make an impact.

"We wanted to bring in guys who could fulfil a need for us as a club," he said.

"Quinten can play forward and do a bit of ruckwork, but we also know he's a different player to what Trav (Cloke) is, so he's a different fellow to have down there. Clinton Young we rated very highly."

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