CHAMPAGNE FOOTBALL FROM CHRIS JUDD
*ROLLING THE REIGNING PREMIERS – Round 12 v Brisbane in 2003
Judd’s five-goal first half is widely seen as the watershed moment where the majority of AFL fans realised how good the 19-year-old was going to be. His class and creativity piloted West Coast to an upset 69-point win at the Gabba. It’s not like the reigning premiers were caught unaware either, Leigh Matthews had instructed them to pay close attention to the speedster.
*THE BROWNLOW MEDAL – Round 1 v Western Bulldogs in 2004
Some 46 times we heard the words ‘C Judd, three votes’ on Brownlow medal night. It’s a league record he shares with Gary Ablett. Judd was rated best on ground by the umpires on seven occasions in 2004. The first was an entertaining shootout at Etihad Stadium when the Eagles got home by seven points. Judd booted four goals, but just as remarkable was how calm he looked in a frantic final quarter.
*THE NORM SMITH MEDAL – Grand final v Sydney in 2005
Free space was at a premium for everyone at the MCG that day, especially Judd who was closely tagged by Luke Ablett. Judd worked incredibly hard inside and outside, tallying 17 contested possessions and 11 clearances. He failed to drag the Eagles over the line, becoming the fourth player to win a Norm Smith medal in a losing side.
*THE COMPLETE PACKAGE – Round 5 v Brisbane in 2006
Judd always seemed to save his best for the Lions. That was certainly the case after Ben Cousins relinquished the captaincy at the start of this season. Judd ended a modest (by his own lofty standards) start to the season by dismantling Brisbane. It’s easy to argue this was his finest game – 39 disposals, 10 clearances, eight tackles, seven inside-50s and four goals.
*THE SCG SLOG IN THE WET – Round 6 v Sydney in 2011
Kieren Jack had done a respectable job of keeping Judd quiet in the first half, but things changed dramatically when the Swans midfielder hurt his ankle. The Carlton captain proved a class above in the 16-point win. Of his 33 touches, 25 were contested and 13 came in the final quarter. He finished with 15 clearances, almost half of what Sydney managed as a team.
*THE COMEBACK – Elimination final v Richmond in 2013
Judd only enjoyed two finals wins after joining Carlton, but this will be hard to forget. The Blues finished ninth, but faced Richmond on Judd’s 30th birthday because of Essendon’s woes. Judd had spent the past three weeks on the sidelines due to a knee injury. He lifted in the third quarter as the Blues pulled off a remarkable comeback, turning a 32-point deficit into a 20-point victory. All in front of a heaving crowd of 94,690.