Chris Judd bows out as one of the game’s greats
CHRIS Judd always deserved to be carried off in his last game of AFL footy.
But by teammates - not a motorised stretcher.
The champion midfielder officially announced his retirement from the game yesterday after one of the great VFL/AFL careers.
The 31-year-old bowed out after rupturing his ACL during Carlton's round-10 clash with Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday.
Knowing then it was an injury that would not only end his season, but also his career, the 31-year-old had given a wave of recognition - and resignation - to the crowd that was on its feet as he was carted off.
"It was a really trying time for me as a person, so to be shown that level of respect as I was carried off was amazing," Judd told a packed press conference.
Judd leaves the game with 279 games at Carlton (2008-2015) and West Coast (2002-2007), one premiership (with the Eagles, 2006), two Brownlow Medals (2004, 2010), and six All-Australian jumpers.
"I couldn't say it was an easy decision to just walk away from something that has been my life's passion," he said.
"I knew the end was coming, so in that sense it hasn't been a huge surprise, but it's the suddenness of it that has caught me a little off guard.
"It was a disappointing finish to my career but I don't lose sight of the fact about how fortunate I've been to play for two such wonderful football clubs."
Judd had contemplated retirement at the end of last season, but had hoped the Blues could push for finals.
"Clearly it was the wrong decision to go on ... but it was very much made for the right reasons,'' he said.
Showcasing his renowned dry sense of humour, when pushed to explain why he thought it was the wrong decision, he responded with "because we didn't really win any (games) ... and I've got to have a knee reco in two weeks".
They currently sit second last with a 1-9 win-loss record, and an interim coach after the sacking of Mick Malthouse.
After being taken with pick 3, in the 2001 'super draft', behind Luke Hodge (Hawthorn) and Luke Ball (St Kilda), Judd set the footy world alight with a blazing display against Brisbane in round 12, 2003, kicking five goals from a wing.
He would then vie with Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt as the game's best player over the next few years.
While there were queries before being drafted over whether his shoulders would stand up to the rigours of the elite level , he said: "To have two shoulder reco's by age 17, and then play 279 games, they've served me pretty well".