How will the Kennedy-Judd trade be judged in hindsight?


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West Coast power forward Josh Kennedy justified his position as one of the league’s star forwards with a dominant 11-goal haul against Greater Western Sydney yesterday.

There is no doubt that Kennedy’s football has progressed in leaps and bounds since being traded to the Eagles during the 2007 trade period.

But seven years on from one of the most publicised trades in AFL history, was Carlton wise to trade away the promising young key forward?

I talk of course of the Chris Judd trade. At the time Judd was undoubtedly the game’s hottest talent.

When Judd announced he would be seeking a move back to Victoria, clubs threw just about anything at the Eagles to try and lure the superstar midfielder.

And who could blame them? Judd was in the prime of his career and possessed a football resume matched by very few.

Some pundits had even gone as far to suggest he was one of the modern game’s best ever midfielders and he was an integral part of the dominant West Coach engine room that also included Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr.

Carlton traded Josh Kennedy, selection three and selection 20 in return for Judd and selection 46.

West Coast picked Chris Masten and Tony Notte in the draft while the Blues went for Western Australian Dennis Armfield.

While Notte failed to make the grade at the highest level, Masten is now one of the Eagles’ most consistent midfielders and a key player in their side.

Kennedy is a crucial element of the Eagles side. He straightens them up in attack and is possibly in their top couple of most important players at the club.

An important thing to remember is that the Blues did not lack any firepower at the time of the trade with Brendan Fevola close to the best forward in the competition.

Dennis Armfield has had a serviceable career to date and has probably exceeded expectations from what you would like from a selection 46.

It was a lot for the Blues to give up and many suggested that for the trade to be worthwhile, Judd’s recruitment needed to deliver them a premiership.

With an ageing list, Carlton do not look like winning a flag anytime soon.

But it takes many factors and an element of luck to win a premiership so it would be too simplistic to measure a trade’s worth by that.

Judd not only improved Carlton on the field but he added professionalism and was a strong role model for other young midfielders, like Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs, to learn from.

But with Judd approaching the twilight of his career, how will the trade be judged in hindsight?

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. Callum O'Connor says

    Perfect timing, Jackson!
    Judd was excellent for a few years whilst Kennedy has been consistently good. Every time he has a great game, this discussion is rolled out and the only answer to it is: it was the deal of a lifetime at the time. People anticipated neither Judd’s injuries nor Kennedy’s development. Also, had Carlton been able to recruit and plan better, they would have opened up a premiership window. Not Judd’s fault.

  2. Jackson, one quick question. Did Kennedy play a senior game for the Blues ?


  3. I think the trade will likely be judged as a win-win. Good for the Blues (duh) and it gave the Eagles a forward target to aim at.

  4. Carlton needed something…anything… and Judd provided that. He won a Brownlow and basically won them at least a couple of finals off his own boot. Any rod Carlton have created for their own back has nothing to do with Judd. The only thing I’d have changed in hindsight is given them the #1 pick and be done with it (no other club was going to top that). That way we would’ve still has pick #3 and Kennedy. But you have to bear in mind that our Club was being run by people who try and eat their porridge each morning with their toes. There is a box of hammers that continues to be offended by the comparison to Carlton’s Football Department.

    That said, there was a downside, and that is I think his arrival at Carlton reinforced the introverted nature of the playing group that is a bigger issue than many give credit.

    This is why I am a big fan of getting Daisy to the club — he has the potential to change the dynamic of the group – for the better.

  5. John Butler says

    Litza, we should have given them Fev. The Coasters were still so drug-f*cked at that time they would have fallen for it. But as you say, that would have required our negotiators to show some imagination.

    In answer to the question was Judd worth it? Just consider the place without him.

    Kennedy saves this whole episode for West Coast: Masten and Nott are nothing to shout about.

    A good overview of the situation Jackson.


  6. From the day the deal was signed off, it was absolutely predictable that for the next four or five years CJ would be one of the greats of the day, while JK would look a marvellous prospect at times but still needed to develop the body, the fitness base and the smarts (and fix his goalkicking issues if he’s to stay up that end). The wise-heads would all invoke the ‘bird in hand v birds in bush’ precedent.

    Then equally obviously, the time would come when Chris is on his last legs and Josh is a leading light in the Eagles team. We still await the moment when Chris J is sitting between Mike S and Gerard H most Monday nights, interviewing the likes of Eagles captain, All-Australia regular and Brownlow and Coleman fancy Josh K.

    At all times in this process the media and Twatter/Faceache noise, never remotely interested in ‘win-win situations’, will deliver their judgement based on the evidence of that particular ten minutes.

    But one more ‘if’ to throw onto the pile: if Kennedy had not moved west, he would have remained a Top 5 draft pick at Carlton. How do we know he would have developed any better than most of Carlton’s other Golden Children of the last dozen years?

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