Chris Judd’s time as an AFL captain has come to an end.HAVING stood down as captain, Chris Judd has revealed the Blues have adopted a more cautious approach to training under new coach Mick Malthouse.
Judd, 29, has ended months of speculation by confirming his five years in the top role are over, with him preferring to focus more on his own performance without the added off-field commitments.
The Blues have only recently returned to training at Visy Park after their high-altitude camp in Arizona. Judd noted there was a greater focus on avoiding injuries after a year in which physical setbacks took their toll on the club.
Judd said he and his teammates had embraced Malthouse’s training regime. ”They have taken to the work, training has changed up quite a lot, and so far, so good. We have a lot of numbers on the park,” he said.
The 239-game veteran required shoulder surgery over Christmas last year although former coach Brett Ratten said at the time it was unclear whether Judd had been hurt at training. Ratten also said he had taken a cautious approach with the teams ”A-graders”.
Judd said on Monday that there had been a change in terms of how teammates dealt with each other.
”There has been a really big focus on certainly minimising injuries at training, which is something that we suffered quite a lot in the last couple of years,” he said. ”To see those numbers out on the park is great. I think that will hold us in great stead at the start of the season.”
Judd became captain after joining the Blues from West Coast in late 2007 and said the time was right for change, he having helped to transform a list he felt was ”probably a pretty unprofessional playing group that lacked discipline”.
His future as skipper had been questioned since Malthouse replaced Brett Ratten, with the new coach making it clear even in his 2012 season preview when working as a media commentator that he thought there was too much focus on the dual Brownlow medallist.
There were other instances through the season when he suggested it would be best if Judd was not captain. Judd’s manager, Paul Connors, said the decision had been the player’s alone.
While Judd will continue to lead by example he will not have a role in the leadership group. ”I decided some time ago to step away from a leadership role at the footy club,” Judd said.
”I have been in the leadership group all but my first year of footy, so I have had 10 years in there. I think at my stage of the career I am looking forward to getting back to enjoying the essence of footy and competing and probably not having as much responsibility around the club.
”So, I won’t be pushing any less hard to bring success to this club and will still have an active role around the place.”
Marc Murphy, praised for his leadership last season when Judd was suspended, and fellow onballers Andrew Carrazzo and Kade Simpson are the front-runners to replace the skipper.
The Blues are unlikely to name a replacement until February.
”I guess one of the things as a leader is you want to leave the place in a better place than what you inherited it in,” Judd said. ”Without any disrespect to what things were like five years ago, there weren’t a whole host of players who made obvious leaders as far as that went.
”To be able to step aside from the role and have probably three guys that could step in to the role as captain and do a really good job, and even to mention some of the guys that probably won’t be in the leadership group this year, I think it shows our leadership stocks have come a long way.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.