Hobart/Hawthorn/Western Bulldogs/Richmond, Forward, 1988-2002
> 134 games, 264 goals for Hawthorn, 1990-96
> 108 games, 214 goals for Western Bulldogs, 1997-2001
> 3 games, 1 goal for Richmond, 2002
> Around 30 games for Hobart, 1988-89
> Hawthorn AFL premiership, 1991
> All-Australian Team, 1998 (half forward)
> Michael Tuck Medal for best on ground in the AFL pre-season competition, 1992
> Western Bulldogs leading goalkicker, 1998 (61), 1999 (51)
> Three State of Origin matches for Tasmania, 1990-93
> One State of Origin match for ‘The Allies’, 1998
> Sandringham coach (VFL), 2015
A clever half forward flanker who possessed a magnificent goal sense and the ability to produce big hauls, Paul Hudson’s career may not have risen to the great heights of his legendary father’s, but he by no means failed to live up to any expectations set for him.
Born in Melbourne in 1970, Paul Hudson was the son of Hawthorn champion and Tasmanian footballing icon Peter Hudson. While Hudson senior made his name in Tasmania with New Norfolk and Glenorchy, it was with Hobart that Paul cut his teeth, playing two seasons of senior football with the Tigers before Hawthorn swooped in to take him under the father-son rule in late 1989.
Making his debut for the Hawks in Round 3 of 1990, Hudson’s first season at AFL level produced six promising but unremarkable games. His second year would be a completely different story, as the 21-year-old produced a stunning season that had the AFL world raving about him as the next big thing in the game. He played all 25 games, gathered 527 disposals at 21.08 per game, booted 61 goals including a haul of nine against Collingwood, polled 17 votes to finish fifth in the Brownlow Medal count, and to top it off enjoyed a great grand final against West Coast to finish the year with a premiership medallion. After starting the following season by winning the inaugural Michael Tuck Medal as best on ground in the pre-season grand final, the young Hudson had the football world at his feet, but sadly he would never reach the heights of 1991 again. Nevertheless he continued to produce sizeable goal tallies during his next five seasons at Hawthorn, providing an excellent foil for spearheads Jason Dunstall and Dermott Brereton, and forming a devastating half forward partnership with the mercurial Darren Jarman. He was also a regular member of the infrequent Tasmanian State of Origins sides of the period, kicking three goals as his state sensationally upset Victoria at North Hobart Oval in 1990.
Hudson’s output in 1996 was well down on previous years, and after a falling out with the club after being dropped for the Hawks elimination final against Sydney, Hudson departed the Hawks after 134 games. He wound up at the Western Bulldogs who were searching for another consistent avenue to goal, and that is exactly what Hudson provided. After 27 goals in 20 games in 1997 Hudson clicked again, producing 112 goals across 1997 and 1998 to top the Bulldogs’ goalkicking table in both years with 61 and 51 respectively, with his 1998 efforts granting him selection in that season’s All-Australian team on a half forward flank. After another two seasons at the Whitten Oval Hudson was on the move again, this time to Richmond ahead of the 2002 season. Unfortunately Hudson was never able to get going in the yellow and black, and after only three games he announced his retirement at the end of the 2002 season after 245 AFL games and 479 goals.
After retirement Hudson stayed involved with the game for a number of years. Stints as an assistant coach with Brisbane and Collingwood later led to senior coaching roles, firstly with TAC Cup side Gippsland Power, and then Sandringham in the VFL in 2015.