WEST COAST could never have won the 2006 premiership if public perception about the club's illicit drug taking was on the mark, according to arguably the greatest Eagle of all time Chris Judd.
The man who captained the club to that famous flag win over the Sydney Swans almost a decade ago, won two best and fairest awards and was named All Australian twice while at the Eagles, believes talk of a rampant drug culture have been blown out of proportion.
Appearing as the guest speaker at Greater Western Sydney's Grand Final lunch on Wednesday, Judd said the West Coast side that he led was hard working and driven to achieve the ultimate team success.
Judd's comments came the day before former teammate Daniel Chick told a News Limited that his time at the Eagles was tainted by use of illicit and prescribed drugs.
Another former West Coast captain Ben Cousins has been fighting drug addiction for years, while other former stars like Daniel Kerr and Chick have also had their problems, both in their playing days and since retiring from the game.
Judd said public perception was one thing, but the truth was a totally different story.
"There's no doubt that there was a small group of players that had some drug issues and that's been well documented, but I think the perception from the outside looking in was that there was 45 players on the list running around Perth running riot, and obviously that was not the case," Judd said.
"We wouldn't have been able to play the sort of footy that we did if that was the case.
"2014 was the safest year to fly on an aircraft but because there was a couple of high profile crashes, it felt for all intents and purposes like an incredibly dangerous year for flying.
"With Cuz (Ben Cousins) and some of the issues he faced there was certainly that perception going around, but my time at West Coast will just be remembered as a group of players that were really driven to achieves success and worked their butts off to get there."
Judd played 134 games for West Coast from 2002-2007 and won the 2004 Brownlow Medal, plus 145 games for Carlton, where he grabbed a second Brownlow in 2010.
He retired as one of the game's most decorated stars with six All Australian jumpers, five club champion awards, two AFLPA MVP trophies and a Norm Smith medal in the Eagles' 2005 Grand Final loss to the Swans.