|V/AFL Clubs||West Coast, Carlton|
Christopher Dylan "Chris" Judd (born 8 September 1983) is a professional Australian rules footballer and current captain of the Carlton Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).
Widely regarded as one of the best footballers currently in the AFL, Judd has twice won the league's highest individual honour, the Brownlow Medal, and is a dual Leigh Matthews Trophy winner as the AFL Players Association most valuable player, and he is a premiership captain, having captained the West Coast Eagles to the 2006 AFL Premiership. Consistently recognised as one of the game's premier midfielders, Judd has been selected in the All-Australian team six times, including as captain in 2008. At a representative level, he played for Australia in the 2002 International Rules Series and for Victoria in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match in 2008.
Judd is recognised as a great at two clubs: West Coast and his current club Carlton. During his 134 games with West Coast he captained the club for two seasons and won two Club Champion Awards. After returning to Melbourne to captain the Carlton Football Club, Judd won the John Nicholls Medal as the club's Best and Fairest three times, and become just one of four players in AFL history to win a Brownlow Medal at more than one club.
Chris Judd was born in Melbourne to Andrew Judd and Lisa Engel. Raised in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, where he played for the East Sandringham Junior Football Club before he attended Caulfield Grammar School. Judd was an all round sportsman and junior track and field star and solid cricket player. At Caulfield Grammar, he began to focus on Australian rules football and later captained the school's First team. Judd attained an ENTER score of 96.20 on his Victorian Certificate of Education.
Judd was a graduate of the 2000 AIS/AFL Academy and participated in the 2000 AFL National Under 18 Championships, although due to his young age at 17, he was too young to be drafted by an AFL club. He played TAC Cup football with the Sandringham Dragons through to 2001.
At the 2001 AFL National Under 18 Championships, Judd was named captain of the Vic Metro team, despite chronic shoulder problems. Although he missed the 2001 AFL Draft Camp, his performances at the state championships made him an obvious standout to recruiters and was tipped to be picked high in the 2001 AFL Draft. Judd was taken by West Coast with its priority draft pick (No. 3 overall) in what was later to be called the "super draft" due to the standout quality of the players to have developed from that draft year.
Judd played only one WAFL match before making his debut for West Coast in Round 2, 2002. He had an impressive debut season, winning the AFLPA Best First Year Player Award. In his second season, he alternated between the midfield and forward line, and with several dominant performances, he finished runner up in the club best and fairest. Judd was appointed as one of the Eagles' four vice-captains, prior to the commencement of the 2004 season.
2004 was Judd's breakthrough season, in which he successfully combined with captain Ben Cousins, midfielder Daniel Kerr and ruckman Dean Cox in the Eagles' midfield. Judd averaged 22 disposals and kicked 24 goals for the season and became West Coast's first Brownlow medallist, polling 30 votes to finish seven ahead of runner-up Mark Ricciuto. Additionally, he was named to his first All Australian Team as a wingman, and won the Eagles' Club Champion award for the first time. In 2005, Judd again averaged 22 disposals and was runner-up to Cousins as Club Champion; he kicked the Goal of the Year, and won the Norm Smith Medal in West Coast's four point loss to Sydney in the 2005 AFL Grand Final.
On 1 March 2006, Judd was named captain of the club, succeeding Ben Cousins, who stepped down from the role for disciplinary reasons. As captain, he led the Eagles to a one-point victory against Sydney in the 2006 AFL Grand Final, winning his only AFL Premiership medallion. Additionally, Judd won his second club best and fairest award, his second All-Australian selection and the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players Association's Most Valuable Player.
Judd's strong form continued into 2007, and he polled Brownlow votes in each of his first eight games for the season. However, as the year progressed, Judd was hampered by a chronic groin injury, which sidelined him for several weeks, and restricted his performance in the games he did play. He was forced to play off the bench and in the forward line often, and was rested for several games in anticipation of playing in the finals series.
On 16 September 2007, two days after West Coast's semi-final elimination by Collingwood, it was announced that Judd had left West Coast and would be requesting a trade to a club in Victoria. He notified West Coast coach John Worsfold and CEO Trevor Nisbett of his intentions earlier that day. As arguably the most talented player in the competition, his departure created much attention and speculation among the Melbourne-based clubs, the media and the football community.
In the weeks following the announcement of his departure, Chris Judd met with four clubs: Essendon, Melbourne, Collingwood and Carlton. Judd's management informed Melbourne that Judd was surprised with their presentation, but felt that their Junction Oval training facilities were "an issue". On 2 October 2007, Judd announced that his preferred club was Carlton. Carlton was initially favoured as most likely to secure the services of Judd, because the club held two early draft picks which could be used in negotiations with West Coast. On 11 October 2007, Judd was officially traded to Carlton along with a third round selection in the 2007 AFL Draft (No. 46 overall) for Carlton's first and second round selections (No. 3 and 20) and Josh Kennedy, who was reluctant to leave Carlton. Judd was subsequently given the #5 guernsey vacated by the trade of Kennedy.
During the off-season, Judd was awarded the captaincy of the club entering into his first season with the Blues. His first game in navy blue was a Friday afternoon practice match on 7 March 2008 against the Western Bulldogs at MC Labour Park, with his presence attracting 12,000 fans; Judd scored a goal and had 20 touches.
Judd began playing with Carlton from the first round. His return match against West Coast at Subiaco Oval in Round 7 was widely anticipated in the media, and Carlton won by 37 points. Judd played 21 of the 22 home-and-away games through the season was named All-Australian captain and ruck rover – his third All-Australian selection, and first as captain – and won the John Nicholls Medal for the best and fairest of the Carlton Football Club. He also represented the Victorian team the following week for the Hall of Fame Tribute Match. Judd again won the John Nicholls Medal and All-Australian selection in 2009.
Judd had a controversial end to his 2009 season. In Carlton's elimination final loss to Brisbane, Judd was cited by the Match Review Panel for misconduct against Michael Rischitelli, after Judd made unnecessary contact near Rischitelli's eyes. The media initially reported the case as eye-gouging, and Judd created a bigger controversy when he stated that his intention was not to eye-gouge, but to push a pressure point behind Rischitelli's ear. Judd later said that his comment was intended as dry humor, but it was misinterpreted as genuine and prompted condemnation from many sources, from sports commentators to martial arts experts. After contesting the charge and appealing the penalty at the AFL Tribunal, Judd was suspended for three weeks. In another deadpan statement after the hearing, he stated "I've since watched a couple of Steven Seagal movies and realised that pressure points are no laughing matter," but he also acknowledged his own "stupidity" in the controversy. Then, his leadership was called into question when the team misbehaved during an organised Christmas booze cruise, which saw suspensions to teammates Andrew Walker, Eddie Betts and Ryan Houlihan.
After missing the opening three rounds of the 2010 season due to the "pressure point" incident, Judd earned three Brownlow votes in each of his first five matches for the season, going on to win his second Brownlow Medal with 30 votes, four ahead of 2009 Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett, Jr. He became the thirteenth VFL/AFL player to win the Brownlow more than once, the fourth VFL/AFL player to win the Brownlow at two different clubs (West Coast and Carlton), and the first VFL/AFL player to twice poll thirty or more votes in a season. Judd also won his fifth All-Australian selection, being named on the interchange bench, and his third consecutive John Nicholls Medal, becoming the only player other than Nicholls to win the Carlton best and fairest award three times in a row.
In 2011, Judd led Carlton to its best season in a decade, helping the team finish fifth at the end of the season, and to record its first finals victory since 2001. He was awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy for the second time in his career, as well as the AFLPA's Best Captain Award for the first time. He was named vice-captain and ruck-rover of the All-Australian team, his fourth consecutive selection. He had entered the Brownlow Medal count as an unbackable favourite, with TAB Sportsbet electing to pay out early after Round 20, but he ultimately finished fifth. He played his 200th AFL game during the season.