The tributes came pouring in – as there were always going to – the moment Chris Judd confirmed his celebrated AFL career was over.
His contemporaries lined up on Twitter to laud Judd, with erudite Western Bulldogs skipper Bob Murphy perhaps saying it best.
“The player we all wished we could be. Champion,” tweeted Murphy.
There could and would be no arguments with the “champion” tag.
But where does he sit in the pantheon of modern-day greats?
Gary Ablett Jr and Wayne Carey are invariably the names that get thrown up when that question is posed and Judd’s 279-game career with West Coast and Carlton stacks up well in most areas.
Ablett and Carey each have an extra premiership flag to cherish, but Judd’s rare package of breakaway speed, silky disposal and raw power have seen him rightly lauded over the course of his AFL journey.
Two Brownlow Medals, a Norm Smith Medal, six All-Australian nods and five best and fairests make for a dazzling resume, but Judd is in no doubt which honour sits at the very pinnacle.
“The premiership stands head and shoulders above the rest,” Judd said of the 2006 flag he won with the Eagles while their skipper.
“That was such a special day for a whole number of reasons.”
But looked at in a different way, a argument could be made that one of Judd’s contemporaries from the celebrated 2001 draft has been even better.
Luke Hodge, taken two spots ahead of Judd at No.1, is still writing his AFL story.
In terms of premierships won – and the roles he played in them – Hodge gets the nod.
He has won three flags with the Hawks and on two occasions – in 2008 and 2014 – won the Norm Smith Medal as the best player afield on the sport’s biggest stage.
“It was a pleasure playing against one of the greatest to play our game,” Hodge tweeted.
“Well done on a magnificent career.”
Their names will be forever intertwined.
Lance Franklin, a two-time premiership winner with the Hawks, also has more opportunities to add to his football legacy but he has no doubt where Judd sits.
“Congrats to the best player I’ve seen,” Franklin tweeted.
“Unbelievable career well done on everything you have achieved.”
Melbourne champion Garry Lyon described Judd as the best player of the modern era, while former West Coast teammate Glen Jakovich called him “the greatest ever Eagle”.
With his wrecked knee making it obvious to Judd that he’d played his last game, the Blues champ admitted he broke a career-long habit leading up to Tuesday’s announcement.
“I’ve indulged a bit in the last few days and read some of the things that have been written about me,” he said.
“I’ve never read a huge amount written about me, but it has been nice to hear some of those comments.”
Judd described joining a football club as a bit like having a child in that the Eagles and Blues will always be a part of him.
The same is true in reverse, with Carlton chief executive Steven Trigg thanking Judd for the “profound impact he had on football generally and our club in particular”.