JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Football's real life soap opera

Date

Chris Judd reflects on a career spent in the AFL spotlight.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

When Judd speaks, people listen

Caroline Wilson hopes AFL champion Chris Judd will continue to show his leadership skills and offer insights into the world of football long after he decides to hang up his boots.

PT0M0S 620 349

Chris Judd can see his storied past - and his role in what he calls football's ''soap opera'' - more clearly than his post-football future. In the present, he's realistic about his own capabilities, yet optimistic about what Carlton can achieve.

He understands that, as a footballer about to play his 250th game, his body doesn't permit him to perform the pyrotechnics his younger self did. Not as often, anyway.

''That's one frustration of football,'' he said of the ageing process. ''And without being melodramatic - and this is very melodramatic - but it [football] sort of mimics your life. You're getting ready to die in the latter parts of your footy career, you're unable to do things you would like to be able to do and I guess you have to choose the way you want to go out.

Still going strong: Chris Judd takes the field for his 250th game on Friday, against Hawthorn.

Still going strong: Chris Judd takes the field for his 250th game on Friday, against Hawthorn. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

''You just enjoy the things you can do and whilst I haven't had the best season (average 23 disposals), I still feel like I can contribute to the footy club.''

Judd wants to ''go out'' in a successful team. He's achieved a litany of individual honours, including a pair of Brownlows, a Norm Smith and five best and fairests at two clubs. He's hoisted the cup as premiership captain at the Eagles, in his first, initially reluctant, stint as a captain. But he hasn't seen much success, in relative terms, at Carlton.

''Look, the only reason I'm playing at this age is because there's a potential for success,'' Judd said, noting that while Carlton wasn't ''up with the top four right now'', it was travelling ''OK'' and footy fortunes could shift upwards quickly.

Chris Judd, now a family man, confirmed that he isn't likely to coach when he retires.

Chris Judd, now a family man, confirmed that he isn't likely to coach when he retires. Photo: Angela Wylie

He recalled the Eagles smashing Sydney by eight goals in round eight of 2005. ''That's when Demetriou came out and said they were playing a boring brand.''

Judd's thoughts then were, ''[The Swans] really need to rebuild here, they're in some trouble. Fast forward 16 weeks and they've won the flag.''

Demetriou and the Ugly Swans was a fairytale, not a soap opera.

Judd, clearly, holds some hope that the Blues can morph into a contender quickly, under the wand of Mick Malthouse, in the remains of his career.

He's contracted for next year and the question of how long he intends to play is answered like a simple piece of maths: ''The club would have to want you to play on, you'd have to want to play on and physically and mentally you'd have to be able to play on. If all of those four things occur, I'll play on. If one of those four isn't occurring, then I won't.''

Judd has a Leigh Matthews-like gift for clear and plain thinking about the game and the theatre surrounding it. Not yet 30, but with the speedometer showing 249 games, he describes the veteran's physical decline as ''not linear''.

Because we think of footballers' bodies as machines, ''you're either fixed or you're broken.''

He sees an upside to his twilight. ''I won't be getting tagged as tightly as I have in the past.'' Asked to guess the percentage of games he'd been tagged in, the former Weagles wunderkind had a pithy response: ''Most.'' Judd also has long given the impression, not of a lack of interest in the AFL, but that he wasn't a full-bore footyholic who would go on to coach and, as he put it, ''scream at Auskick'' in later life.

Judd, now a family man, confirms that he isn't likely to coach when he retires. ''I don't think I'll work in football full-time.''

His future plan, at this stage, ''will involve trying to buy or start a small business that is unrelated to footy'' but isn't certain whether that's his true calling.

He notes that he's already taken a tentative step in that direction, having jointly set up ''Jaggad'', a compression bike/triathlon gear company with his close mate and ex-Hawk Steven Greene, Carlton board member Ryan Trainor and ex-AFL commissioner and Just Jeans founder Craig Kimberley.

That entree to serious business connections is one of the advantages that have been conferred upon Judd. When another Carlton board figure - the late Richard Pratt - employed him as ambassador at Visy, outside of the salary cap, he was thrust into the spotlight in a manner he didn't enjoy.

Judd said the scrutiny surrounding his Visy deal was ''an easy story to write'' even though he's one of ''70 players with third party deals and that wasn't even the biggest of them''.

''You need to see footy for what it is,'' he said, placing the Visy controversy into the overall mosaic. ''It's a bit of a soap opera … so the Brownlow's a sort of romance part of it, you get a tragedy outside an MRI clinic when a player's done his knee.''

Judd has seen fascinating soapie episodes up close, of his own making and those swirling around others such as Ben Cousins.

The 'chicken wing' tackle on Leigh Adams - who missed games as a consequence - last year was one in which, he said, he became the villain for the week.

''In the end, it turned into an ugly incident.'' He said had deserved suspension ethically. ''Morally, I deserved to be suspended but what rule did I break? What do you think?''

He says it's impossible to explain ''what goes through a player's head on the field''. That leads us to Ben Cousins. Judd said he had been thinking about his time at the Eagles - and of Brett Ratten, his old coach, whose involvement with Hawthorn brought him to mind.

Judd's observation of Cousins is a homily about sport: ''The qualities we admire in players on the field are things we criticise them for off the ground. Cuz was pretty intense and just so driven in everything he did. On the field that was great. On the training track it was great. Off the field at times, it wasn't great. We see that in a lot of players.''

Judd has twice been given club captaincy - the first time from a Cousins who'd been stripped of it, the second to a situation vacant at Carlton - when he didn't really want it. He's ''proud'' and pleased he accepted leadership, both times, today.

Of the man who made him captain the second time, he said: ''I had a good relationship with Ratts … when you're captain of the club and the coach gets sacked, you feel a bit more responsible for that than anyone else.''

Ratten's successor has changed plenty.

''Needless to say, Mick's had a huge impact on our footy club,'' Judd said.

''He knows what it takes for footy clubs to succeed but … he doesn't just stick to formulas that he used in the past.''

Judd, like Malthouse, is in the hopeful dusk of his career. He can't rely on yesterday's ways either.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers