The SportingJournal

Champions will Rise

Image from Carlton Football social media

Chris Judd of the Blues, in action. Image from Carlton Football social media.

The word champion is tossed around far too much these days. In our game, there are good players, great players and stars, but very few actual champions. Chris Judd is one of them.

But what is a champion?

A champion is a player who can get the job done no matter what. One kick, one mark, one little 20 metre dash, from a champion is enough to lift a whole team.

It would be fair to say that Chris Judd, by his standards, has not had a great first half of the year. There’s not a whole lot wrong with his statistics in 2012, but an average of 24.9 disposals per game is just a shade of what the premiership captain and dual Brownlow medallist can do. We’ve seen this man win games off his own back, collect 15 disposals in a quarter and 40 for the match.

His performance against his old side West Coast was as bad as Judd has ever played, amassing a meagre twelve disposals. The Selwood brothers certainly had their way, but the continual rival spirits of the Perth crowd weren’t doing Judd any favours.

A lot of people have a lot of explanations for Judd’s struggle in 2012. Some are hinting at a niggling injury that Carlton have kept under wraps, some of the more incredulous believe that his son Oscar may be tiring his dad out.

Some say that without Marc Murphy as a distraction, Judd is getting lots of attention from run-with players again and is copping the number one tag every week. There is credence to this theory: since Murphy’s injury in round eight against Adelaide, Judd has been averaging a little over 20 touches per game – compared to an average of 27 disposals per game when Murphy played alongside him.

And of course, there are the naysayers who claim that Judd has passed his prime and that 2012 is just the beginning of a form slump that will last the rest of his career.

Whatever you believe, champions don’t just lie down and take this criticism. Champions will continue to soldier on and keep fighting, and will eventually reap the rewards. And in Carlton’s debilitating loss to Hawthorn, Judd proved that he is a champion.

Putting in a performance that would come close to netting him best afield honours, Judd snared 29 disposals (at a highly impressive 90% disposal efficiency), six inside-50s and kicked a goal.

It was just unfortunate that his team couldn’t lift the way he did. While the Blues faltered and cast doubt on their ability to even scrape into the top eight, Judd rose above his criticisms and put on a display reminiscent of the form of a dual Brownlow medallist and premiership captain.

Judd rose above and proved the naysayers wrong – a true champion of the game.


Mitch Brown

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