AFL’s Ken Judge dies of cancer

AFL player, coach and commentator Ken Judge has died of cancer.

A premiership player in his first AFL season, Judge went on to coach Hawthorn and West Coast.

He then had a solid career as a radio commentator in Perth and was part of the ABC team that called last year’s grand final.

The Hawks and Eagles led the tributes to Judge.

“The club sends its condolences to family and friends of premiership Hawk and former coach Ken Judge, who has passed away today,” Hawthorn posted on Twitter.

Judge turned 58 on Friday.

Originally from East Fremantle, Judge was a half-forward flanker who signed with South Melbourne (now Sydney) and eventually joined the Hawks.

He capped his first AFL season by playing in the team that thrashed Essendon by a then-record grand final margin.

Judge also won the Hawks’ best first-year player award that season.

He was also a part of the Hawthorn teams that lost the 1984-85 grand finals to Essendon, their fierce rivals.

Judge then struggled for a senior game in 1986 and was not part of the team that beat Carlton in the grand final.

After 72 games and 158 goals with Hawthorn, he played 17 games in two seasons with expansion team Brisbane.

Judge then became an AFL senior coach, taking charge of the Hawks from 1996-99.

In his first season, the Hawks finished eighth and the club was then torn apart by the failed merger proposal with Melbourne.

His circumstances were also challenging when he coached West Coast from 2000-01 as he succeeded two-time premiership coach Mick Malthouse.

Judge eventually made way for former Eagles captain John Worsfold.

He battled myeloma, a rare bone marrow of the blood plasma cells, and had a relapse in 2012.

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