It’s one of the most famous and unique trades in footy history.
Famous because it involved two players, Chris Judd and Josh Kennedy, that end their careers with stacked CVs, with surely the latter to join the former in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
And unique because both Carlton and West Coast could claim they ‘won’ the trade.
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Debate over the famous 2007 deal between the Blues and Eagles has, inevitably, emerged this week after Kennedy announced West Coast’s upcoming match against Adelaide would be his 293rd and final AFL game.
The soon-to-be 35-year-old will depart as the Eagles’ greatest goalkicker, as well as several accolades including a dual Coleman Medallist, seven-time Eagles leading goalkicker and triple All-Australian. He was also a pivotal member of West Coast’s thrilling 2018 premiership triumph over Collingwood.
Kennedy’s achievements came almost exclusively at the Eagles after Carton’s No. 4 pick from the 2005 draft was central to one of footy’s most famous trades.
In late 2007, Judd – West Coast’s 2005 premiership captain and arguably the best player in the AFL at the time – wanted to return to Victoria, with the Blues keen to secure his services.
After 11 goals from 22 games at Carlton, Kennedy moved back to Western Australia – although he was happy and settled in Melbourne at the time.
As part of the deal, Carlton acquired Judd and Pick 46, which it used to select Dennis Armfield, who played 145 games for the Blues). The Eagles got Kennedy, as well as Picks 3 (Chris Masten – a premiership Eagle that played 215 games for West Coast) and 20 (Tony Notte, who played two games in three seasons).
NEW FOX FOOTY PODCAST — Six polarizing finals contenders, latest trade whispers
Listen below or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Spotify
The struggling Blues not only needed a star player, they sought a leader and standard-setter, hence he was made captain in his first year. In his first four seasons at the Blues, Judd made the All-Australian team in each year, won the Blues’ best and fairest in the first three, claimed the 2010 Brownlow Medal and won the AFL Players’ Association’s MVP award.
Judd was four years older than Kennedy when the 2007 trade went down. He was also already a Brownlow Medallist, Norm Smith Medallist and premiership captain.
But as Judd was coming to the end of his career, Kennedy reached his prime. He kicked 59 goals as a 23-year-old before a golden run where he booted 60, 61, 80 (Coleman Medal), 82 (Coleman Medal) and 69 majors across five seasons. Most crucially, the next year he kicked 3.2 from 18 disposals and 11 marks in a winning Grand Final.
Injury forced Judd to retire at 31 following a couple of seasons where it was clear he was part of his incredible prime. Kennedy will retire after a mighty, warrior-like finish to his career that’s seen him kick 43, 49, 34, 41 and 29 goals from the past five seasons. Considering the Eagles’ plight, the poor delivery inside 50 and his own injury niggles, the fact Kennedy has booted 29 goals this year is remarkable.
Ultimately, the Blues got seven seasons out of Judd and the Eagles got 15 out of Kennedy.
So all things considered, who won the 2007 Judd-Kennedy trade?
Fremantle legend Matthew Pavlich perhaps put it most diplomatically.
“Probably West Coast in the long run, but it’s one of those ones where you could probably argue the case either way on who had the better result,” Pavlich told foxfooty.com.au.
“Judd was captain and All-Australian and took the Blues to a finals win in 2013. So maybe the short-term winner was Carlton, but definitely the long-term winner has been West Coast in terms of Josh Kennedy being an incredible forward for a long, long period of time, All-Australian, Coleman Medalist and eventually a premiership player in 2018. He’s been a star for a long time.
“So short-term Carlton, long-term West Coast – it’s not usually you get a trade like that where both teams could argue that they got a better result.”
Ultimately, the business of footy is winning, which is what swayed two Fox Footy pundits to the Eagles.
“Without judging the individual players but judging from the time of the trade, I would feel West Coast won the trade,” triple premiership Lion Alastair Lynch told foxfooty.com.au. “That’s not reducing or belittling Judd’s contribution because he is one of the all-time greats of the game, but post-trade, West Coast got a flag out of it and I suppose Carlton didn’t, so I’d have them just in front.”
Bulldogs games record-holder Brad Johnson told foxfooty.com.au: “Well West Coast won a flag, so I think with what West Coast got out of Kennedy was absolutely spot on for what they needed as a team.”
Triple premiership forward Cameron Mooney also leant towards West Coast – but not by much.
“I think it worked out pretty well for both. But if I had to pick, being a forward and knowing how hard it is to kick 700 goals and to win a premiership, which is the main game of the game, you have to think probably West Coast,” Mooney told foxfooty.com.au. “But I would’ve been very, very happy if Chris Judd walked through my doors.
“The thing for Carlton was at the time, the club just wasn’t a good club – and it’s probably the perfect example of one person cannot change a football club. He’s in the top handful of players this century and as great as he is, he couldn’t change a club that, probably until recently, had been seen as a poor club.”
AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson declared it a win-win for the Eagles and Blues.
“They both won. Judd was a champion and Kennedy played 15 years,” Robinson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“His second headline in football was ‘Carlton are giving away Josh Kennedy’ – and his last headline will be ‘Josh Kennedy retires a champion of the game’. It’s a great story.”
AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley added: “It’s quite clear Carlton didn’t know what they were trading, because nobody trades THAT player. He was two years in and the forecasting wasn’t he was going to become one of the top 25 goalkickers of all-time. He might’ve been reluctant at the start, but he found his home from him and West Coast and he won his reputation from him at West Coast.