The Northern Territory news Fri 14 Jun 2013
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28 NT NEWS. Friday, June 14, 2013. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 4 -J U N -2 0 1 3 P A G E : 2 8 C O L O R : C M Y K Judds 250 reasons to smile Chris Judd at one of his other jobs, cycling clothing company Jaggad, ahead of his 250th game Picture: ALEX COPPEL By SAM EDMUND Early on inmy footballing life I made the realisation that the harder Iworked, the better I got CHRIS Judd is 29. It is worth stating that simple fact, if for no other reason than to point out he is only eight months older than Gary Ablett. Yet the Carlton superstar isnt afraid to discuss life after football after signing the first one-year contract of his career last month. But on the eve of his 250th game, its easy to forget the immediately explosive influence of a player who earned a Rising Star nomination on debut and finished third in the Eagles best and fairest in his first season. Early ripe, early rotten, Judd laughed. Sitting down with Judd ahead of another milestone this week, we found a man relaxed and candid in discussing a glittering career that is closer to the end than to the beginning. Fittingly, we find him at one of his other jobs. The husband, father and footballer is also a businessman with many interests the latest being online sports apparel company Jaggad, due to be launched in August. It makes me nervous, but it excites me as well, Judd said of eventually leaving behind the game. Numerically it (29) is not that old, but I guess 250 games is a lot of footy. I still think Im capable of playing good footy. Age, in itself, isnt the be all and end all to how youre playing. Ive obviously got this year and next year at this stage, and well see what happens after that. But Ive got a lot of friends whove left the game and some of them have had tough periods trying to adjust. Its not a path Ive got to cross yet, but its something youve got to be aware of. The final phase of Judds career will be orchestrated by what Blues fans hope will be a series of one-year deals. Judd, who took what chief executive Greg Swann described as a really, really substantial pay cut for next season, makes no promises beyond 2014. Both parties were happy with that. At this stage of my career I have to want to keep going, the club have to want me to keep going, he said. I still think theres a lot of improvement in us this year and Im happy Ill be around for next year as well. Judds 249 games can almost be split in two the blistering quick linebreaker who thrilled in 134 games for West Coast and the unrelenting stoppage beast who has churned out 115 for Carlton. Any club in the land would gleefully take either Judd, but the man, himself, has a pragmatic take on the transition from dashing prince to stoppage king. Those West Coast periods were just wonderful for me and for that footy club. It was a time where I didnt really have to think about playing footy, he said. Early on in my footballing life I made the realisation that the harder I worked, the better I got. It was a simple formula; I just did extra training and trained harder. Out on the field there werent things I wasnt able to do, I could just go out and be blank and play. Whereas as Ive got a bit older theres some things I dont have access to now, so youve got to think your way around how to play. Thats the frustration for all older players the mind sees what you need to do, but youre just not able to do it. The second half of 2004 and 05 and 06 at West Coast was a pretty magical time. But it was the latter stages of 2007 and the decision to play through severe groin problems that forever changed Judds approach. A shadow of himself in the final weeks of that year, Judd admitted he should not have played, but also insisted the lessons learnt helped. I dont regret it and nor do I blame anyone else, he said. Theres certainly things I wouldnt do again, but I learnt a lot more about injury prevention and rehab, and perhaps if I didnt go through that then I wouldnt have strung so many consistent seasons together. You get asked a lot of questions when youre a footballer, as if youve almost had three careers. So when people say: When are you going to finish?; if Id had three careers Id say six months, 18 months or three years, but the fact is youre doing it for the first and only time and youre learning as you go. Development occurs through setbacks if you dont have a setback you dont have a strong enough reason to learn and develop. Physically, Judd said he was feeling pretty good, and ahead of tonights clash with Hawthorn, said his form was satisfactory without setting the world on fire. Mentally, he has been rejuvenated by the decision to relinquish the captaincy he had held since joining the Blues in 2008. It made sense to do it with a new coach (Mick Malthouse) and a new captain (Marc Murphy), and they could grow together, Judd said. But he rejects the notion he could have happily played out his career without captaining an AFL club. Neither of the circumstances in which I became captain were ideal. West Coast had a captain whom they loved in Cuz (Ben Cousins) and he got sacked for off-field behaviour, and it got handed to me at a time when I wasnt far away from looking at coming back to Melbourne, Judd said. And to be made captain of a club (Carlton) youve never played a game for isnt ideal either. But while both were uncomfortable ways to get the role I was really pleased to get that opportunity. Its a tremendous honour. Tonight, Judd will notch up 250 games a figure he viewed as a ridiculous amount of footy when he was drafted west. Its certainly something Im really proud of, he said. As you get a bit older, you make an effort to think about that a bit more than when youre younger because you realise theres not going to be milestones and achievements forever. Carlton champ has burning desire to win one more flag before giving the game away for good FromPage25 coming from a club where we played finals every year, he said. I guess thats just what I expected a bit. If Id come from a club who hadnt played finals in six years Id maybe feel we (Carlton) had almost over-achieved. It would have been nice if we had got a bit closer to the ultimate success but the fact is, we havent and we get on with it. Judd last month signed a one-year contract extension tying him to the Blues until the end of next year. While the 29-year-old admitted he was thinking more and more about life after football, he said he wouldnt make any declar ations beyond next season. I just dont know it de pends on a lot of things, Judd said. I just want to appreciate whats happening now and whats happening now is weve got a youngish team that keeps improving. Weve got a new coach and I think its a pretty exciting time for our club, so Im not wishing away the present. Im conscious of trying to be excited over what comes next without wishing away the last part of my career because things at Carlton are going pretty well. Its a good group of blokes there and it would be great if we were able to achieve something in the time Im still around.