Carlton coach Mick Malthouse appeared to offer only lukewarm support in July to the chances of Chris Judd continuing in 2015, saying a star player shouldn’t tarnish his legacy by playing on too long.
Judd’s injury-interrupted season, plus the fact the dual Brownlow Medallist turns 31 in September, have added up to heavy recent speculation that the Carlton onballer’s 268-game AFL career might be over in a few weeks.
Two fabulous performances in the past two weeks, however, against Fremantle and Gold Coast could point otherwise.
Malthouse says if a player is thinking about retiring, he is already mentally starting to leave the game.
“If someone says to me I’m going to retire, I rarely ever try to talk the player out of it,” Malthouse said on Saturday after Carlton’s 14.13 (97) to 8.10 (58) win over Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium.
“Juddy, really, if he says to me ‘I reckon I can go on’, I’ll certainly be saying ‘so do I’.
“He’s certainly playing some good footy.”
Judd had 27 disposals and nine clearances against the Suns, including 16 touches in the first half as the Blues jumped out to a match-winning lead of 46 points.
Kade Simpson, Bryce Gibbs, Dale Thomas and Mark Murphy were also dominant while Jarrad Waite and Tom Bell booted five and four goals respectively.
The out-of-contract Waite has kicked 12 goals in three matches, with the 31-year-old having 22 disposals and nine marks against the Suns.
Malthouse was pleased with the efforts of defenders such as David Ellard (16 possessions and eight tackles) and big Sam Rowe while Irishman Ciaran Sheehan’s debut was another highlight.
The 23-year-old Sheehan had 13 touches and provided some merriment for fans when he burst down the wing and had a bounce in very careful fashion, dropping the ball awkwardly on its side and seeing it bounce back gently up into his arms during the second term.
Speedster Chris Yarran suffered a calf injury which Malthouse says probably means his season is over.