Kick to Kick: Who won the Chris Judd trade?

Ken Sakata Columnist

By Ken Sakata, Ken Sakata is a Roar Expert

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    Welcome to ‘Kick to Kick’, where two writers have it out over football’s most contentious topics. This week, we’re going back to 2008.

    West Coast traded Chris Judd and Pick 45 for Picks 3, 20 and Josh Kennedy.

    So, who won the trade?

    Ken Sakata
    I tell people I’m a Carlton person. This is like telling people I don’t believe in vaccines. You would not believe the lengths people would go to fight me.

    One of the first questions I get asked is ‘Who won the Chris Judd trade?’ This is an antagonistic power-play. Make the Carlton person admit to another Blues blunder. Essentially, a low-key hate crime.

    The conventional wisdom is that West Coast won the trade, so I say ‘West Coast’. This is, of course, a lie. The answer is actually Carlton.

    I often lie when I don’t want to embarrass someone in public. When someone serves me teriyaki chicken in a rice roll, I say, “Thank you for the sushi, which this definitely is.”

    Carlton won the Chris Judd trade.

    Ryan Buckland
    But if we want to talk about winning, surely we can’t go past two very salient facts on the matter?

    Chris Judd’s winning percentage at West Coast: 62.8 per cent (84 from 134).
    Chris Judd’s winning percentage at Carlton: 52.4 per cent (76 from 145).

    West Coast’s winning percentage since the Chris Judd trade*: 45.5 per cent.
    Carlton’s winning percentage since the Chris Judd trade*: 47.1 per cent.

    *Through Round 8, 2015.

    In keeping with your unconventional view of the football world, I put it to you, Ken Sakata, that there was no winner. Only losers.

    Eagles legend Judd ended up playing more games for Carlton than he did for West Coast. Carlton traded out a forward line player who kicked more goals last year than the top-four goal kickers at Carlton combined.

    Ken Sakata
    Ryan, every trade has a winner.

    There’s a reason it’s called ‘The Chris Judd trade’, not ‘The Josh Kennedy trade’ or ‘The Chris Masten trade’. Let’s look at some alternative facts.

    Carlton’s winning percentage post-Judd trade:

    Eight seasons: 50 per cent (88 from 176).
    Carlton’s winning percentage pre-Judd trade (eight seasons): 32.9 per cent (58 from 176).

    West Coast’s winning percentage post-Judd trade (8 seasons) : 54.5 per cent (96 from 176).
    West Coast’s winning percentage pre-Judd trade (8 seasons) : 61.3 per cent (108 from 176).

    Even I know my stats are nonsense. We can’t use team win-loss to determine the impact of individual players. It doesn’t take into account Carlton’s young list maturing, or the absolute pharmaceutical meltdown of the Eagles’ list.

    Instead, let’s look at an alternative universe. Chris Judd never gets traded. What do you think happens?

    Josh J Kennedy West Coast Eagles AFL 2016

    Ryan Buckland
    You’ve hit on a particular interest of mine here: impossible-to-prove counterfactual arguments.

    So Judd was traded to Carlton in the 2007 off season, for Picks 2 and 20, and 2005 Pick 4 Josh Kennedy (who was effectively Pick 1 in some ways, because the first three picks of the draft were priority picks). The Eagles sent over Pick 46 to make it all balance.

    Those picks turned into Chris Masten and Tony Notte for West Coast, and Dennis Armfield for Carlton. It’s simplistic, but the Blues traded Kennedy, Masten and Notte for Judd and Armfield.

    As a West Coast fan, the first thing that comes to mind is the knock-on effect of missing out on Kennedy in the key position stocks of the team. The Eagles would currently have the lion-hearted Jack Darling as its number one key forward, which would not be much fun.

    Jeremy McGovern probably makes it into the side as a key forward rather than a defender, meaning Eric McKenzie or Mitch Brown are still in the best 22 as stoppers. That would be ok, but McGovern is a better fit with where the game has moved in the past two years.

    How do you reckon the Blues would be faring right now if you had Kennedy, Masten and Notte available?

    Ken Sakata
    Let’s talk alternate realities.

    After the inevitable Fevola trade (Brendan Fevola has a big Brownlow night in every reality), Josh Kennedy forms a Carlton forward line with Jarrad Waite, Eddie Betts and Andrew Walker. It’s tall, it’s small, it works.

    They’re supplied by a midfield of Marc Murphy, and Bryce Gibbs. Masten rolls through the interchange, and eventually starts on-field.

    In 2008, I meet a young actress while I’m on exchange in the States. We fall in love. Her name? Lindsay Lohan. In this reality, she never tries cocaine. She never markets a line of leggings with built-in knee pads.

    This is the best timeline.

    Let me tell you about all the other timelines.

    Carlton’s development has been its worst enemy. How do you turn three No.1 draft picks into a mediocre on-ball crew? How do you fail to develop every top 20 pick for five years (2008-2012)?

    With Carlton’s development, Kennedy has a John Butcher-like battle of expectation and reality. Masten assumes a Kane Lucas role and never gets going. Notte is still a bust.

    Carlton couldn’t develop their draft picks. They were better traded than wasted. In Judd, they didn’t have to develop anything, they had a ready-made superstar to plug into their side.

    Let’s talk intangibles. What do the players of the trade add to their team off the field?

    Ryan Buckland
    Carlton really have had a tough time of it, haven’t they? Off the field, well, Judd will be overseeing Carlton’s football department from next year onwards. Judd probably helped sell some extra cardboard boxes and Mars Bars in his time for the Blues, and there was that fleeting moment in 2012 when you were premiership favourites, right? Those were the good times.

    But did bringing Judd over effectively contribute to the over-rating of Carlton’s list in the early 2000s, which is the root cause of the current malaise? That has all sorts of off-field effects that will be felt for another couple of years yet.

    As for West Coast, trading Judd – or granting Judd’s wish to be traded – was undoubtedly the exclamation mark on the club’s illicit drugs issues. Trading away a Hall of Fame potential dude, just about to enter his prime, because of club culture suggests some seriously invasive surgery is required on your club culture. The Eagles are better for it in the long run.

    Ken Sakata
    Zero premierships on both sides. That’s the long and short of it.

    Judd and Carlton’s ‘tankathon as rebuild’ couldn’t get past the second round of the finals. Now he’s in the front office trying to steer things towards a flag. His contribution to Carlton may be even greater in a suit and tie. If he gets Nathan Fyfe across, or better yet, their development going, Carlton could have another tilt. But not all footballers, especially legends, are useful in a post-playing capacity.

    Kennedy and Masten haven’t won flags yet, but at least they still have opportunities to influence things directly. They’re both within striking distance of career-best form. With Nic Naitanui’s injury and the win-now mentality of the Mitchell trade, the window is ajar, just.

    It’s what I bloody thought: first side to the flag wins.

    And if none are forthcoming, it’s a battle for the father-sons. There are three Judd boys of indeterminate ability. They are as much footballers as television presenters at this stage.

    I hope we’re not pinning our hopes on this, Ryan.

    Ryan Buckland
    Look, I still think there’s a premiership in West Coast’s current list – at the worst, another genuine tilt at one. It’ll be a challenge this year just because of the Big Orange Giant stomping its way across the AFL landscape, and with Naitanui’s injury, and with the general flakiness of the midfield, and Darling’s cymbal hands, and Lewis Jetta’s career-threatening aversion to cow skin, and I need to lie down.

    Consulting my analytical lobe for a second, is it possible both sides won? Carlton got the final piece of their puzzle – they forgot they were playing checkers – and West Coast got a head start on a rebuild they commenced before it was absolutely necessary. There’s another club I know who would have done well to follow that example.

    Ken Sakata
    Nah. What’s with you man? First it’s two losers? Now it’s two winners?

    Then again, I’m now fairly certain that Carlton didn’t win the trade.

    When we’ve literally come to the opposite conclusion of what we initially argued, we know we’ve done well.

    Good game Buckland. See you next round.

    Ken Sakata
    Ken Sakata

    Ken Sakata is a sportswriter based in Melbourne, covering where sport and pop-culture collide with a keen interest in AFL. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @sakatarama

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • March 14th 2017 @ 8:17am
      andyl12 said | March 14th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Judd’s choice of Carlton will always be tainted by the individualism that it reflected. The consensus is that he went there for the money when he could’ve gone to a premiership-bound team instead (Collingwood or Hawthorn).

      For this reason, and for the fact that Josh Kennedy is still playing today, I have to say West Coast won the deal.

      • March 15th 2017 @ 1:28pm
        mattyb said | March 15th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Eagles won the deal. Judd was greedy and went the money,fair enough but that’s an individual thing.
        For all the talk Judd improved standards at Carlton he didn’t really do anything of the kind. He took some cash from a basket case,left and their a basket case again.
        Carlton just thought they’d buy themselves a premiership and it just didn’t work. The clubs a complete disaster.

        • March 15th 2017 @ 3:30pm
          Macca said | March 15th 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          Mattyb – “He took some cash from a basket case,left and their a basket case again.” When did Judd leave?

          As for the basket case and Judd not improving standards – in the 3 years prior to Judd arriving at the blues they won 4, 3 & 4 games to finish last, last and second last – in the 1 year since he left the won 7 games and finished 5th last – the improved standards caused by his impact will mean the basket isn’t as deep and we won’t be in there as long.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 9:03am
      Bored said | March 14th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      People soon forget how bad things were at Carlton. They had very little quality players on its list. Judd did more than play, he lifted up the entire list and Carlton supporters had hope again for a while.

      As for losing Josh Kennedy, it was annoying, but he STILL has not played in a grand final, let alone a flag winning team. So, I think Carlton did well out of it and it helped turn the club around from a terrible period.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:37am
        Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Well said Bored – One of the big stories I remember was the players went out for coffee after a pre-season training and someone ordered a bowl of chips and when they came Judd told the waitress to take them back, Judd changed the standards and Judd is still having an impact on the likes of Cripps and is joining the board.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 11:14am
        HandsomeHenry said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        Josh Kennedy had a bad day in 2015 GF but he was actually there.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 12:02pm
        Chaos said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        I know West Coast really didn’t play well in the 2015 Grand Final, but they did play and Josh was on the field.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2017 @ 9:53am
      AJ Mithen said | March 14th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Wow. No mention of the VISY deal that let Carlton effectively cheat the salary cap and make the deal happen after Judd’s charade of ‘interviews’ around the league…
      The standard of ‘expert’ writing on the roar is fast going down the toilet, isn’t it.

      • Columnist

        March 14th 2017 @ 9:54am
        Ryan Buckland said | March 14th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Ease up AJ, it’s a bit of fun mate.

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
          AJ Mithen said | March 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          I know, I know… I’m having an aggro morning

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2017 @ 11:28am
            Col from Brissie said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            AJ – how did Carlton effectively cheat the salary cap when the Visy deal was ticked off by the AFL at the time. You might be interested to know that in 2012 there were 80 third party agreements worth $1 million dollars across the 18 clubs and 2 years prior to that 114 agreements worth $2 million. It is just because Judds was the biggest and most publicized that it is the only one that gets a mention. Gary Ablett when at Geelong had a third party agreement with Frank Costa’s Property business as did Joel Selwood.

            As for who won the deal, I think both clubs and players won. Sure it would be nice to have Kennedy playing at Carlton now but if he had stayed at Carlton would he be as good a player as he has been playing in a bottom team – probably not.

            • March 14th 2017 @ 1:20pm
              Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              Good point Col – if the blues didn’t have Judd would they have been able to get much benefit out of having a high quality key forward? Or would he have developed the same?

              It also has to be remembered that by the end of the 2009 season (Kennedy’s second year at West coast ) he had played just 23 games for the club for 38 goals after 22 games in his 2 years at Carton for 11 goals – if he had stayed at the blues and got the exact same output there would have been plenty of people calling him a draft bust after just 45 games & 49 goals in 4 years.

            • Roar Guru

              March 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm
              Dalgety Carrington said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

              Because Judd’s was a bodgy deal, even for the bodgiest of operators like Nisbett.

              • March 14th 2017 @ 5:09pm
                Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

                How was it any more “bodgy” than any of the other 78 3rd party deals?

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 5:17pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                When Trevor Nisbett feels he can question your deal, it’s like Satan baulking at your ethics.

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 5:19pm
                Cat said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

                There sheer size of the deal and the minuscule amount of ‘ambassadorship’ work Judd had to do for it.
                Half the annual money Judd got per year from his initial 6 year deal with Carlton was outside the cap. Imagine if Hawthorn with Buddy or Geelong with Ablett was allowed a similar percentage.

              • March 14th 2017 @ 5:21pm
                Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                So Trevor Nisbett is incredibly dodgy in everything except his opinion on this.

                Sorry Dalgety but I make my judgements on things a little bit more tangible than how Trevor Nisbett feels.

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Yeah, you base your view on how you feel.

              • March 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm
                Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Cat – The size doesn’t matter – if an action is either ethically wrong (ie bodgy) or its not – you don’t tell your kids you can’t steal unless the value is less than $100 then it is open season.

                Dalgety – How I feel based on the evidence at hand, evidence I generally provide.

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 5:32pm
                Cat said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                Your analogy is faulty. This is more like running greater than 10 metres without bouncing the ball. Seventeen teams and scores of players got pinged if they went over 10 metres. The Judd deal went 25 metres without getting pinged.

                The AFL was wrong to let the deal go through, hence why they finally closed a few years too late. Geelong approached the AFL about doing a similar deal with Cotton On to keep Ablett Jr. from going and were flat out told NO.

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 6:25pm
                Col from Brissie said | March 14th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                Cat, that proposed deal with Cotton On was about five years after Judds Visy deal. The AFL had started cracking down on third party deals by then. Ablett had a third party deal with Frank Costa’s business. What was the difference between that and Judds deal?

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 7:00pm
                Cat said | March 14th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                Every star player has PSA’s The difference is in the amount of $ for effort. Judd’s far exceeded any other player.
                It’s like putting a bucket of candy out for kids on Halloween; each kid taking one, except for one who dumps the whole bowl in his bag.
                It’s not the fact that Judd had a PSA, it was the enormous size that had never been allowed before or since.
                The ‘crackdown’ was solely because of the bogus Judd deal that should never have been approved. Other teams and other players wanted similar deals and the AFL couldn’t allow such obvious side stepping of the salary cap.
                Judd was hardly the only player with a VISY PSA, in fact Carlton had 15 players on deals at the same time as Judd, but only Judd gets complained about because of the size of it (and the fact that he did absolutely nothing to even try to justify it).

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:26am
        Bored said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        What Carlton did with Judd was the same method of keeping star players on the books of the other 15 clubs at the time.

        Question is, why is there a salary cap for players and not administrators. 2 Million for McQuacklan. What a joke. As if he invented the sport.

      • March 14th 2017 @ 12:33pm
        Birdman said | March 14th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Agree- the VISY deal was sanctioned salary cheating by the AFL who wanted the Blues to return to Big 4 status – I presume a recently retired AFL Chairman chose to look away when it went through.

        • March 14th 2017 @ 1:14pm
          Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          ” there were 78 similar third-party deals to players across the competition” – seems it was sanctioned because everyone was allowed to do it.

          • March 14th 2017 @ 2:48pm
            Birdman said | March 14th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

            yep Macca – 3rd party deals are sanctioned salary cheating regardless of how many deals were around at the time but Judd’s was at the highest level because it suited the AFL to give Carlton a leg up.

            • March 14th 2017 @ 4:15pm
              Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              It is sanctioned for all clubs Birdman it isn’t cheating – it is the rules of the game.

            • March 14th 2017 @ 4:15pm
              Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              If it is sanctioned for all clubs Birdman it isn’t che@t!ng – it is the rules of the game

              • Roar Guru

                March 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm
                Cat said | March 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                I’ll agree with Macca, it wasn’t cheating; however, the AFL should never have let the deal go through and in fact struck down similar deals. Don’t blame Carlton for trying something, blame the AFL giving its approval when clearly never passed the sniff test.

    • March 14th 2017 @ 10:39am
      Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      Judd has 3 boys who qualify for both teams as father sons and given they are growing up blues supporters, living in Melbourne and their dad is on the board at the blues the blues side of the deal might not have finished yet!! 😉

      • March 14th 2017 @ 10:45am
        Macca said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        And let’s not forget Judd was on the panel that appointed Bolton

    • March 14th 2017 @ 10:58am
      Arky said | March 14th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      It’s really hard to say. The trade didn’t contribute to a premiership for either team, which would be the ultimate argument-ender.

      Did it improve West Coast? Probably. Late 2000s West Coast was going to implode even with Judd still around, even if they could have convinced him to stay through the drug scandals that engulfed the place. You KNOW Judd would have forced his way out at that point if he was still there, and West Coast wouldn’t have got half as a good a trade in that situation. West Coast is better now for having Kennedy and Masten than it would have been had it kept Judd, even if “better” didn’t get it to a flag. It got pretty close. It’s not impossible for them to contend again while Kennedy is still around.

      Did it improve Carlton? Yep. Judd gave them professionalism, pride, and the return to finals football that no amount of draft picks and AFL assistance has been able to give Melbourne so far. It didn’t turn them into contenders but that’s not because of the trade, that’s because they turned 3 consecutive #1 picks into a very good player, a good player and a constantly injured good player… and basically wasted all their other good draft picks for a period of about 7 years.

      Win-win. West Coast, which was sinking anyway, traded away the rest of their present for an improved future. Carlton, which sucked, traded away assets they would have misused for perhaps the one player capable of lifting them out of a Melbourne-style long term mire.

    • Editor

      March 14th 2017 @ 11:21am
      Josh Elliott said | March 14th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Next week: Who won the Heath Shaw trade. We can use the same picture. Eagles won, by the way, by virtue of not being Carlton 😉

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