THESE days, he likes to be called 'dad'.

In his time, Chris Judd was routinely called 'spectacular', 'brilliant', 'unstoppable', 'electrifying' and more.

He was every bit of those descriptors, and then some, across a startling CV that includes a Norm Smith Medal, dual Brownlow Medals, a premiership as captain, multiple best and fairests at each of his two clubs West Coast and Carlton, and multiple All-Australian selections, including the captaincy.

06:06 Mins
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Hall of Fame: Chris Judd

Midfield dynamo Chris Judd adds another accolade to his impressive resume

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The numbers and the facts don't do justice to Judd, though, if you saw him play.

For the man himself, it seems a long time ago now he began a career that sees him as the first inductee into the Hall of Fame from the 2001 'super draft', but induction is an honour that puts a last full stop on his time as footballer, and has him happy to just be dad and husband these days.

"I was very fortunate to have the career I had and very proud with what I was able to do," Judd says.

"Once you're out of playing for a fair few years now, it sometime feels like footy was a whole other lifetime.

"These days, I'm just dad and that's exactly who I want to be as you go to the next stage of your life, and it can feel like my time in footy happened to a whole different person, but I had an amazing time running around in my twenties trying to be the best player I could be."

Chris Judd in action against the Brisbane Lions in round five, 2005. Picture: AFL Photos

He absolutely succeeded in being the best player he could, and as good as any player of his time.

In fact, he was two players. Two very different players, but each equally dominant.

Judd mark 1, at the Eagles, exploded out of stoppages and was gone before you knew he had the ball, swerving, sidestepping, sprinting and bouncing at top pace in a full-blooded assault at the goals.

Young and celebrating the emergence of a strong team around him, it was as if he was on a weekly exploration to find out exactly what he could do on a field, and there wasn't much he couldn't do.

Judd mark 2, at Carlton and now a senior player, was an inside-game machine, winning the ball consistently and seeking to lead a downtrodden big club back to the summit.

"I felt as if I had two careers, not just because I was at the two clubs, but the way I changed how I played as I got older.

"At the Eagles, I was a young kid with the physical freedom to just go out and play and I had some unbelievable role models in how to train hard and be at your peak, and I basically went full bore at it non-stop, until I pretty much broke my body."

That 'break', a serious groin injury that hobbled him terribly through 2007 as he was preparing for life back in Melbourne, taught him a lesson he never forgot about his limits, but steeled him to come back and be great again.

"I was a different player at Carlton, and we didn't have the same ultimate success, but I had a wonderful time being at a big Melbourne club. We were fighting our way back after being down a long time, we won some big MCG finals and we improved.

"To play at the two clubs that I did, I was very fortunate."

Chris Judd in action against Collingwood in round five, 2015. Picture: AFL Photos

If he seemed remote and self-contained at times, almost as if he was stepping on to the field to perform his magic and then disappearing until the next game as the last part of his weekly act, that was absolutely deliberate and part of his approach to be his best.

"I was hyper-focused and highly strung about what I wanted to achieve and I went as far as I could to shut off every bit of outside noise that I could.

"I didn't want to outsource how I felt I was doing with my career to media commentary about myself, because it was never going to help me in what I wanted to achieve."

As his playing days become more distant, he's opened up more and cherishes the relationships at both clubs.

"I played with great players at both clubs, and everybody can name those great players, but equally importantly I played with guys who did great things at both clubs because they were prepared to be about team and be selfless.

"It's that bond you have after you finishing playing that stays with you, and saying it is about friendships and memories probably over-simplifies it.

"It's the shared experience of playing a contact sport, where you can get seriously hurt, and doing it front of thousands of witnesses, maybe 80 or 100,000 people, and even more watching on TV, and knowing that you did it together.

"There's a lot riding on that commitment to a physical challenge over a season and over the years you play, and by being out on the field is the only way can only really understand what it is like to have that connection you build with your teammates."

The Eagles celebrate their 2006 premiership win over Sydney. Picture: AFL Photos

The names of players burst out when he talks of those times, in a way they never did on the occasions he spoke publicly at the time while as a player – Embley / Glass / Cox / Cousins / Kerr / Stenglein / Selwood / Banfield / Murphy / Carazzo / Walker / Gibbs / Kreuzer /Betts. What they did and what they gave.

Self-deprecating still for much of the chat, the honour is keenly felt, even if he can't avoid a shot across his own bows.

"Speaking to the family after I got told, it's almost like the full stop on my football.

"It's a great honour and to get that phone call was very special.

"It's probably good it comes a fair few years after you retire, both to reflect on what it means, and it also lets people forget how bad you were right at the end of your career. Nobody makes the Hall of Fame on how they played in their last few games."

After about 270 stellar games, a few quiet ones can be excused for a deserving entrant into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.


  • 279 games, 228 goals for West Coast and Carlton
  • 1x premiership (captain) 2006
  • 2x Brownlow Medal 2004 2010
  • 1x Norm Smith Medal 2005
  • 2x AFLPA MVP 2006 2011
  • 5x Best and Fairest 2004 2006 2008 2009 2010
  • 6x All Australian 2004 2006 2008 (Captain) 2009 (Vice-Captain) 2010 2011 (Vice-Captain)
  • Captain 2006-07 (West Coast) 2008-12 (Carlton)