Blues management is tipped to use all three frontline contenders Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo and Kade Simpson as a stand-in skipper for each of the first three weeks of NAB Cup summer series action.
Murphy, 25, continues as the raging most likely candidate to replace Judd, who willingly stepped down as skipper last December after five years as captain.
While Murphy looms as most likely Blues on-field leader with prospects of as much as six or seven seasons as captain ahead of the 2011 fairest-and-best, a full blown selection process is under way with new coach Mick Malthouse and his advisors examining all crucial leadership credentials among contenders.
Playing performances as well as genuine leadership talents in the field of NAB Cup battle looks certain to be a major factor in final consideration over the next month.
An appointment of Blues skipper looks set for well into next month after the last NAB commitments in mid-March ahead of the new premiership campaign and first under the Malthouse regime.
The Blues join the NAB series in week two with a trip to Blacktown and triangular match engagements with Greater Western Sydney and powerhouse Sydney next week.
It is unclear whether Murphy, Carrazzo or Simpson will take the skipper’s reins for next week before the Blues host Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night March 2 and then round out NAB qualifying commitments in Adelaide on Friday night six days later.
Murphy, Carrazzo and Simpson joined Judd on the sidelines on Friday as the Blues went through a second intra-club game so far this month.
Judd, 29, continues in a carefully managed recovery from a hamstring strain that was originally described as a grade one tear and requiring about a three-week lay-off from full training.
The dual Brownlow medallist and triple Blues best-and-fairest winner is expected to make a playing return late into the NAB series.
Judd is entering what could well be his final AFL season and is understood to be a certain starter for the opening AFL season round unless the veteran play-maker suffered any new setback or a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
His latest injury dilemma is the same hamstring that Judd pulled before half-time in the final qualifying game of last season when the Blues faded late in the game and lost by 15 points to St Kilda.
Star ruckman-forward Matthew Kreuzer, high-flying sharp-shooter Andrew Walker and clever small crumbing goal-shark Eddie Betts were also rested out of Friday’s practice match.
Other than Judd, it is believed that none of those front-line starting team stars are nursing injuries.
It seems a delicate juggling act by Malthouse to manage his preferred starting outfit through until the launch of the premiership season on Easter Thursday against traditional rival Richmond at the MCG.
Malthouse and his adopted Blues confront a horror April to consummate their new era.
The Blues have assignments against the Tigers and then genuine premiership hopes and most bitter enemy Collingwood, Geelong, a trip to Perth to take on West Coast and finish the first month with Adelaide at the MCG.