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Judd ends celebrated AFL career

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Two-time Brownlow medallist Chris Judd has called time on his celebrated AFL career, three days after suffering a serious knee injury.

Judd, 31, played 279 games for West Coast and Carlton from 2002-15, leading the Eagles to the 2006 premiership and winning Brownlow Medals in 2004 and 2010.

He had initially intended to retire at the end of the 2014 season, before changing his mind and signing on with the Blues for one more year.

Judd ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a marking contest with Patrick Dangerfield in the first quarter of Saturday’s clash with Adelaide at the MCG.

He will require a full knee reconstruction.

“It was a disappointing finish to my career but I don’t lose sight of the fact about how fortunate I’ve been to play for two such wonderful football clubs,” said Judd.

Judd thanked all of his coaches, teammates, administrators and fans at the Eagles and Blues, singling out long-time assistant coach Robert Wiley and Carlton physio Mark Homewood for special praise.

He also thanked his longtime manager Paul Connors and his family.

“There’s been plenty of highs and plenty of lows but your support has been immeasurable,” he said of wife Rebecca.

The departure of Judd will make life much harder for second-from-bottom Carlton in what was already shaping as a very difficult 2015 campaign.

But it will give interim coach John Barker more scope to pump games into young midfielders such as Nick Graham and Blaine Boekhorst as the Blues face the prospect of a major rebuild.

“I couldn’t say it was an easy decision to just walk away from something that has been my life’s passion,” said Judd, although he stressed he had no second thoughts once it was confirmed he had ruptured his ACL.

“I knew the end was coming, so in that sense it hasn’t been a huge surprise but it’s the suddenness of it that has caught me a little off guard.”

Judd said on reflection it had been the wrong decision to play on in 2015.

“Clearly it was the wrong decision to go on … as it turned out it was the wrong decision, but it was very much made for the right reasons,” he said.

Judd said it had become increasingly difficult in the last couple of years to prepare his body for the rigours of being an AFL footballer.

He said winning the 2006 premiership with the Eagles was the clear highlight of his decorated career, while upsetting traditional rivals Richmond in the 2013 elimination final at a jam-packed MCG was the best moment of his eight years in navy blue.

The stellar AFL career of Chris Judd:

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