Opinion Peak Judd was the best from any midfielder this century

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Sweet Jesus

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 20, 2014
Hong Kong
AFL Club
West Coast
Chris Judd was inducted into the Hall of Fame this week.

It got my wheels turning. WC are done for the year, after some disgraceful showings, and I'm consigned to bumping my long-running threads.

It made me cast my mind back to Judd's days at WC. That stretch of footy he played from 2004 to midway through 2007 when he did his groin, I reckon that's easily the best 80-game stretch I've seen from any WC player and I reckon it's the best 80-game stretch I've seen from any midfielder. I'd take it over any comparable stretch of peak Ablett or peak Martin. I get it, Ablett played 350 games and longevity counts. Martin played in 3 flags and won 3 Norm Smith medals. These are amazing achievements and you'd probably take their careers over Judd's career.

But I still reckon the quality of football Judd produced in that window at WC was superior to anything I've seen over a comparable stretch. And 80 games is a pretty good sample size. I'm not talking about one great season. I'm talking about 80 games. And I'd back that slice of peak Judd over any other midfielder I've seen.

Also, there's this meme in a lot of the coverage that Judd burst onto the scene at WC and was awesome purely because of his breakaway pace. And then he had to remake himself as an inside mid at Carlton. This is nonsense. Judd was a dominant inside midfielder and a clearance machine at WC. He was also a fine tackler and kicked a goal a game.

I can see why the contrast is appealing for folks trying to describe his career, but Judd was already a complete midfielder at WC aged 21, 22, 23. He averaged 14 contested possessions a game in 2006, admittedly inflated by playing finals. But that was a career high. He was the best inside midfielder in the comp that year. It was also an equal career-best year for goals.

The point is that he didn't wait until moving to Carlton to develop his inside game. That's one of the dumb lines of "analysis" I've seen following his induction.

And then there's his record in finals. FMD. Martin also a superstar in that regard.

Maybe I'm nostalgic. Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe I've had too many margaritas.

That aside, I assume you all agree with me?

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Brownlow Medallist
Jul 13, 2015
AFL Club
Sam Mitchell up there too. Then Black and Aker get a mention.

Not sure Hird gets included as he played half his football last century.

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Show Pony
Jun 29, 2006
Nthn Beaches
AFL Club
Other Teams
My favorite moment from the Juddmania era (circa 2005/06) was when big Quentin Lynch lead out from FF straight at him, and Juddy fired the ball 3m over his head like a bullet, to noone.....and the WA commentator called it as "Lynch ran underneath the pass".

He owed just about everything to the screen they ran for him at a centre clearance. So yeah, Tyson Stenglein made him.

He went alright i guess. He was no Goodes though.
Couldnt take a mark to save his life of course.


Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 6, 2007
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Different type of player and really an old school winger more than a mid, but I see peak Matera as one of the best. Due to his pure ability for destruction of a game and opposition tearing up and down that wing.
He wasn’t as consistent and maybe I’m nostalgic from when I was a kid watching footy in the 90s but Matera stands out to me as the hardest WCE and possibly any player when in full flight.

Judd busting from those packs though…


Brownlow Medallist
Apr 18, 2011
AFL Club
Other Teams
Six decades of domination
Was the fat Ronaldo of the AFL for the time. Unbelievable pace and power. Cut down by injuries.

Amazing how he was able to carve out the career he did in spite of his body not cooperating.


Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 16, 2009
AFL Club
Not the best player as his game wasn't as all round as some mids, but when he was on, which was a lot of the time, especially at WC he was the most destructive mid I've seen.

GAJ was probably the most all round mid, Voss power, Harvey was up there for me and quite Judd like, Dusty class and power, Fyfe & Danger power, Hird's class, Goodes versatility, Williams ball winning, Ian Stewart's all round game etc. But nobody was as good as Judd in hitting a ball and powering and always balanced.


Brownlow Medallist
Apr 10, 2005
AFL Club
Sam Mitchell up there too. Then Black and Aker get a mention.
Black/Aker/Mitchell were elite due to their disposal.

Judd's kicking was always no better than average. But what made him so thrilling to watch was his explosive pace especially when clearing the ball out of the pack.

Martin/GAJ/Fyfe guys like that were more consistent and had better games.

You watch this goal and tell me anyone in the AFL could do this today


Brownlow Medallist
Aug 11, 2006
Democratic People's Republic of Victoria
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Sadly the Carlton portion of his career is a bit of a waste of a career. If it weren't for the 5-6 years at West Coast I don't think he'd be in the HOF.

His acceleration and speed in those early years was as exciting as anything in the AFL... but injuries caught him early, and as I said the Carlton part of his career is a waste (yes, I know he won another Brownlow). I'd have to go with Voss or GAj for longevity as much as anything.

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