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Judd's foul play gets him 4 weeks

Date

Caroline Wilson

Chris Judd leaves the AFL tribunal last night.

Chris Judd leaves the AFL tribunal last night. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

CHRIS Judd and his damaged brand were last night confronted at AFL headquarters with the harshest and most damning judges that the dual Brownlow medallist has faced in his decorated but tainted career.

Banned from playing football for four weeks, Judd was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute - a charge he denied - and condemned for unsportsmanlike conduct in illegally twisting the damaged arm of North Melbourne's Leigh Adams.

Leaving the dramatic and often confusing hearing, which lasted more than three hours, Judd apologised to Carlton's members and said he had already apologised to Adams. As he left he appeared to take with him the Blues' slim hopes of playing finals - and perhaps even the coaching career of Brett Ratten.

Judd said: ''It wasn't my intention to hurt Leigh Adams. I obviously expressed my apology personally to him since the event and I'd just like to extend that apology to the Carlton footy club and to the supporters for letting them down.''

He denied his attack on Adams was deliberate and denied the accusation he had behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner. The tribunal, headed by former County Court judge David Jones, disagreed.

He said he was disappointed but accepted the tribunal's decision. Carlton football boss Andrew McKay said the club would consider its options.

If the Blues were seriously considering an appeal they shouldn't. Given the severity of the charge and Judd's priors, he could have been suspended for seven games but instead should return to lead the club against Essendon on August 18.

In the context of recent judgments - Collingwood's Sharrod Wellingham broke Kade Simpson's jaw the previous week in a head-high collision and will miss three games while at the Gabba at the weekend Daniel Rich shoved Clint Jones into the fence and will miss two - Judd's seemed about right if mildly lenient.

But the Blues remained furious at the AFL's judicial system, having only learnt the exact nature of the misconduct charge at 3pm.

Defiant until the last, Judd's advocate Simon Wilson, QC, tried but failed to plead guilty only to the lesser charge of rough conduct.

He said he had acted

recklessly but not deliberately in his savaging of Adams' arm but he showed remorse and wished he had let go much earlier.

The three former players sitting on the tribunal - Wayne Schimmelbusch, Wayne Henwood and Emmett Dunne - were told to take Judd's contrition into account along with his poor record.

This was a malicious, unusual act never before judged in an AFL context and the term ''chicken wing'' did not do it justice.

All manner of amateur psychologists have attempted to explain Judd's occasional acts of malice on the sporting arena, which have been generously described as ''brain fades'' and certainly must involve some element of frustration as well as intent to hurt.

Not for the first time in attempting to prevent himself from being rubbed out, Judd said he had not known Adams' identity.

Carlton's assistant coach Alan Richardson said the opposite on Saturday.

The suspension means he has now been rubbed out of football for a total of eight weeks.

Judd's has been a multi-layered issue and one victim of the fallout was the Channel Seven commentary team and specifically Dennis Cometti, who was accused on ABC radio two days ago of bias towards Judd.

Seven's Friday night football coverage of the North Melbourne-Carlton overlooked the seriousness of the incident and made no attempt to interview Adams after the game.

Radio commentator Francis Leach suggested Cometti's friendship and former business partnership with Judd had clouded his judgment. Cometti conceded to The Age Seven had ''probably downplayed'' Judd's second-quarter attack on Adams but scoffed at allegations of bias.

''That's just nonsense. He (Leach) credits me with far more power than I have at Seven and to suggest I'd be prepared to use it hardly shows respect,'' said Cometti, who pointed out he had used the term ''chicken wing'' in questioning fellow commentator Leigh Matthews.

''It's outrageous to suggest I'd deliberately play it down but if we did that we're all guilty of it. None of us on the night thought it was a massive issue but it got a life of its own. And once that happens you would be crazy to stand in the way of the avalanche.

''We were probably close because he lived nearby when he played for the Eagles but we've just drifted apart. I did call him this week to see how he was doing and I do like the bloke but he's a bit different and I say that in a good way.''

In recent days Judd has been described as a flawed champion with a split personality, one side of which showed malicious intent last Friday night.

He has been likened to a dark knight and the boy who pulls wings from butterflies.

Hyperbole aside, at the AFL tribunal last night the discount the game gives its champions no longer applied to the man who has won two Brownlows, one premiership, the all-Australian captaincy, the Norm Smith medal and five best and fairests.

In terms of the competition's disciplinary body Judd had used his last get-out-of-jail-free card two years ago. On that occasion Judd split the cheek of Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich with his right forearm.

The match review panel let him off and he went on to win a second Brownlow.

With ADAM COOPER

38 comments so far

  • I voted NO to the above poll because he deserved at least 8 WEEKS !!! He did a deliberate act of harm to another player - if you watch the video at real speed he blatently grabs Patch's arm pulls it up and twists it !! It was NEVER NOT going to dislocate

    Zeebs on the other hand was playing the ball, attacking the BALL with an incidental hit on the Carlton player happening -- Should NEVER have even gone to the tribunal !!!!!!

    Commenter
    BigG66
    Date and time
    July 18, 2012, 7:36AM
    • I voted no for the same reason.

      Commenter
      ffan
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 8:01AM
    • I agree the poll question is badly framed. He should have got more than 4 weeks. And when did "brain fade" become an excuse for bad behaviour?

      Commenter
      Not impressed
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 8:19AM
    • way too short. It's about time Judd got a decent suspension... he has a long history of deliberate, cowardly attacks on players in compromised positions. The pressure point and the eye-gouging are a couple that spring to mind.
      get rid of him for 8 weeks.

      Commenter
      keeno
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 8:42AM
    • Totally agree with you. The bloke should have got 8 weeks. No way he should have two Brownlows either as CW alluded too,
      Judd has been looked after by the AFL for far too long.

      Commenter
      nifty
      Location
      freo
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 9:24AM
    • Same here.

      Commenter
      Brian
      Location
      Warrak
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 10:04AM
    • I voted the same way. Judd should be breathing a big sigh of relief because he has got away with a very light penalty. His actions could easily have ended the playing career of Adams and it was a calculated attack on a defenceless player. Some would even call it cowardly. To all those who think it was nothing I say what would you be saying if it was Chris Judd who had been subjected to the chicken wing? It would all be different then wouldn't it?

      Commenter
      Robbo
      Location
      Mt Eliza
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 10:11AM
    • Stupid comments... Judd had intent, yet Ziebell didn't? I'd give them both the benefit of the doubt. Take the hysteria out of it, 4 weeks is about right for Judd. Ziebell's mistake was to jump in the air and bump. Always going to be in trouble. 2nd mistake was to not take the 3 weeks. Was never going to work.

      Commenter
      Leg Side Wizard
      Location
      Reality
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 10:11AM
    • A lot of vitriol about this and fairly pathetic it is. Even Bob's comment below is poorly stated as the video evidence showed Wellingham took his eyes off the ball long before the contest. Compared to his action, Ziebel was harshly dealt with as he had eyes for the ball until closer to the contest - either man, though, could have changed what they did (i.e. not jumped into the player).

      In an era where the head is considered so sacrosanct and the global discussion currently underway into concussion in sport and its long-term ramifications, added with the fact that it is a more common incident than a "chicken wing" tackle, the bumps by both Ziebel and Wellingham had to be more harshly penalised. Either incident, especially Wellingham's, could have quite realistically resulted in death or brain injury. Those incidents need to be rubbed out of all levels of the game and are seen at all levels of the game. Judd's incident, for which he should have been punished on the scale determined by his defence, was so rare it apparently doesn't rate on the MRP scale.

      On Sunday (can't remember which match) there was even an incident when a player was tackled with the ball in his right hand and while still standing had his left arm grabbed and pulled behind so he could not handball. Stumbling in the tackle he was forced to kick awkwardly and still had his arm being held behind. Apparently that was fine.

      There are better articles about this as Caro has joined the chorus of punishment by profile in our social-media driven world. If David Ellard had laid the tackle Judd did, he may have got a week.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 10:15AM
    • I also voted 'No' - because he should have got at least six weeks. It's interesting how his initial stance of "I'll own up and take my punishment' turned into lying to the tribunal ('not intentional'? - how stupid does he think people are?) and then whining that the punishment was too harsh. What a man.

      Commenter
      Jeff
      Date and time
      July 18, 2012, 10:53AM

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