The career of Carlton and West Coast champion Chris Judd has come to an end with the two-time Brownlow Medal winner confirming his retirement on Tuesday morning.
Judd tore his medial and anterior cruciate ligaments on Saturday in Carlton’s loss to Adelaide.
The dual Brownlow medallist will be remembered as one of the greatest midfielders the game has seen.
“He is the hardest opponent I’ve ever played on. I remember watching him when he first burst on to the scene, I actually would look at him as someone I wanted to base my game around. His speed, his accuracy with his skills, his contested football. It’s just fantastic.” – Adam goodes
He won five best and fairest awards across his 279 games for West Coast and Carlton and was named All Australian six times.
Judd was captain of the Eagles in 2006 when the club won its first premiership since 1994 and won the Norm Smith Medal in 2005 in the club’s four-point loss to the Sydney Swans.
“I gave everything for the two clubs I represented,” Judd said.
“Once I heard it was an ACL, I knew I wouldn’t play again.
“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.”
His final opponent, Crows star Patrick Dangerfield, described Judd as “an ornament to the game”.
“I reckon try to find a player who has come into the game in the last 10 years who hasn’t tried to model themselves on Chris Judd,” Dangerfield said.
“I think if you asked them honestly, I don’t think there is one who hasn’t.
“His ability to burst clear from a stoppage, to win the contested ball and damage on the outside … he is someone I look up to enormously.”
Judd paid tribute to his teammates, coaches, football club staff, the fans and his family in Tuesday’s retirement speech.
The tributes have come think and fast for a man labelled “the player of his generation”.
Adam Goodes, a fellow two-time Brownlow Medal winner, said: “He is the hardest opponent I’ve ever played on. I remember watching him when he first burst on to the scene, I actually would look at him as someone I wanted to base my game around. His speed, his accuracy with his skills, his contested football. It’s just fantastic.”
Peter Bell, who entered the AFL Hall of Fame last week, said: “It is almost super human, the way that he shrugs tackles and wins clearances and shimmies and shakes and sets up scoring opportunities and his consistency.”