Carlton star Chris Judd has revealed he made up his mind ‘‘four or five months ago’’ to retire at the end of this season, and was still of that mindset as recently as four weeks ago.
Judd officially told the club on Monday he intended to play on for a 14th season – providing he gets through the last three games injury-free – stating that Carlton’s resurgence in the past month and his own form and fitness had been key influences.
Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, the two-time Brownlow medallist said recent conversations with coach Mick Malthouse had also led him to rethink his earlier decision.
‘‘Four or five months ago, I made the decision to retire, and I was really definitive on it and clear. For a number of reasons, I thought it was the right decision,’’ Judd said.
‘‘I had spoken to some people at Carlton and I had told all my family and friends that I was done,’’ he said.
‘‘And then to be honest, I didn’t really think about it until four weeks ago. I was planning what I was going to do next year and then, I guess, circumstances just changed and I thought there’s no use being stubborn about it.’’
Judd said he expected to play a similar role next season, though he had told Malthouse he was unlikely to play all 22 home-and-away games.
‘‘Whether we shoot for 18 home-and-away games or whatever it be, that’s probably where the tinkering would be,’’ Judd said.
Judd confirmed he had offered to take about a 50 per cent pay-cut for this season — from the six-year deal that expired at the end of 2013 — and he was certain that the club and himself would come to another fair arrangement for 2015.
‘‘My objective is to not squeeze every dollar out of the footy club, it’s to try and contribute and try to enjoy another year,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m really excited about it. The footy club is starting to turn a little bit of a corner now and playing some decent footy.’’
Judd has been in good form since returning from injury, but football boss Andrew McKay said the recent change of attitude around the club – both on and off the field – had influenced Judd’s decision.
‘‘I think Chris has noticed a change in the playing group over the last six weeks that has certainly shown on the field,’’ McKay said. ‘‘And Chris has noticed it off the field and I think that can only be good for Carlton.’’
The news ends weeks of speculation that Judd, 31 next month, would retire this year, despite the brilliant midfielder having enjoyed an admirable second half since overcoming two significant injuries.
Judd missed the first four games after undergoing surgery on an Achilles injury that interrupted his pre-season, and then he ripped a hamstring within minutes of going on as the substitute in his first game back in round five.
He sat out until round 13, meaning he has only had to put his body through eight full games this season. His performance in that short period has been impressive though – especially on Saturday against Gold Coast where Judd blitzed the young Suns with 27 disposals (a game-high 15 contested possessions), nine clearances and two goals.
Judd has averaged 22 disposals, 12 contested possessions and six clearances in his eight full games this year, as well as kicking at least one goal in five of them. Those numbers rank highly at Carlton and compare favourably with those of his 2010 Brownlow year, his second medal.
Speculation that Judd would retire with ‘‘something in the tank’’ intensified early last month when Malthouse spoke publicly about veteran players tarnishing their legacies by playing one season too many.
‘‘Do you go with something in the tank or do you go totally dry? That will be a decision Chris makes,’’ Malthouse said in July.
‘‘My advice to all players [is], ‘Go when there’s a little bit left, don’t try to drag it right out’, because I’ve seen too many great players, unfortunately, walk the boundary at the end of their careers and people only remember them the way they played their last year,’’ he said. ‘‘Every year you have players who retire and in your own mind you look at them and think, ‘One year too long’.’’
Judd said he agreed with Malthouse's view and that he did plan to retire with a "little bit left in the tank".
"But not when there is still half left in the tank", he added.
It appears the injury that has restricted Judd to just half a season might have worked in the Blues’ favour in terms of keeping his experience and talent at the club for another year to guide Malthouse’s developing team through the transition phase.
Judd, a former West Coast premiership captain, has played 268 games.