Players taken in the 2001 National Dra
Players taken in the 2001 National Dra Michael Dodgegetty Images

Splitting hairs over two true champions of the AFL

ALMOST as soon as Chris Judd announced he was finally hanging up the boots, came the inevitable debate over he and Gary Ablett Jnr.

No, not who looks better with a shaved head, but rather who has been the greater champion since they were both drafted in 2001.

Though currently having his battles with a shoulder injury, Ablett has become the bigger name across the country since his move to the Gold Coast. after first rising to become the game's No.1 player while at Geelong circa 2007-08.

In contrast, Judd's star has dimmed in recent seasons at Carlton to the point his weather presenter/fashion designer wife is now shining brighter in some markets. One Sydney media outlet on Tuesday was even running with the headline 'Rebecca Judd's husband to make announcement on playing future'.

Few players though have made such an impact in their first few years as Judd did with West Coast, winning his first Brownlow Medal in his third season (2004) - when Ablett was nothing more than a goalsneak and still had a big mop of blonde hair.

Judd was the most electrifying player in the game for a good five years, rivalling Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt as the league's best while the careers of Michael Voss, James Hird and Nathan Buckley were winding down.

On the whole, while they both have five club best-and-fairest awards, the umpires have had trouble separating them, handing each of them two Brownlow Medals and a grand total of 209 votes apiece to both sit equal third on the all-time VFL/AFL list behind Gary Dempsey (246) and Robert Harvey (215). They also both hold the league record for most best-on-ground performances (46).

Having been at the top a little longer, Ablett does now lead Judd for All-Australian honours (8-6) and MVP gongs (5-2) ... but then Judd has an Oscar - well, son Oscar Dylan Judd (cue the knee-slapping).

Comparisons though are sometimes just futile.

While Judd hit the ground running, scorching across footy fields as an Eagle, many had wondered if Hawthorn had erred in choosing Luke Hodge with the No.1 pick in the 2001 National Draft and not Judd.

But, you can bet if the Hawks had their time over they would make exactly the same choice - three premierships (two as skipper) and being named best-afield in two grand finals justify their decision.

That's not to say Hodge has been better than Judd, however.

What is not up for debate is the fact that the so-called 'Superdraft' class of 2001 has lived up to its billing, having now collected six Brownlow, six Norm Smith and 32 premiership medals ... and that's just for starters.

And no doubt the powers-that-be are freeing up quite a bit of space in the Hall of Fame for them, starting with Judd.

 

THE CLASS OF 2001

Players taken in the 2001 National Draft    

BACKS Brent Reilly (pick 12) ADEL Games: 203 Brian Lake (71) WB/HAW Games: 236. Matt Maguire (21) SK/BL Games: 170  

HALF BACKS   Luke Hodge (1) HAW Games: 257 Lewis Roberts-Thompson (29) SYD Games: 179  James Kelly (17) GEEL Games: 264   CENTRES   Nick Dal Santo (13) SK/NM Games: 287 Sam Mitchell (36) HAW Games: 270 Leigh Montagna (37) SK Games: 237  

HALF FORWARDS   Dane Swan (58) COLL Games: 246 Jarrad Waite (46) CAR/NM Games: 193 Jimmy Bartel (8) GEEL Games: 274  

FORWARDS   Steve Johnson (24) GEEL Games: 243 David Hale (7) NM/HAW Games: 223 Adam Schneider (60) SYD/SK Games: 222  

FOLLOWERS   Mark Seaby (22) WC/SYD Games: 120 Chris Judd (3) WC/CAR Games: 279 Gary Ablett (40) GEEL/GC Games: 270  

INTERCHANGE   Luke Ball (2) SK/COLL Games: 223 Campbell Brown (32)  HAW/GC Games: 205 Andrew Welsh (47) ESS Games: 162 Paul Medhurst (56) FRE/COLL Games: 168  



Fish missing for 14 years rediscovered in Bremer catchment

premium_icon Fish missing for 14 years rediscovered in Bremer catchment

The 90m fish ladder at Berry's Weir, Yamanto was finished in 2016

A day to remember our fallen officers

A day to remember our fallen officers

145 Queensland police officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Local Partners