An interesting question was thrown my way during a recent visit to Perth: "Do you still hear a lot about Twigs over there [in Melbourne]?"
'Twigs' is Sandgroper shorthand for Rebecca Twigley, now better known as Rebecca Judd. There was a time in the mid-2000s that the Perth media was infatuated with the model and university student, who infamously wore 'that dress'
to the 2004 Brownlow Medal count.
During West Coast's premiership years Twigley and Chris Judd were the darlings of the Perth social scene. At times it felt like saturation coverage in the papers and on television. It was all unbearably cloying.
These days though, I assumed Mrs Judd had left the attention behind.
"No, not really," I replied. "I think she's taken a bit of a step back lately."
Not for the first time, Google has opted to disagree with me.
After it some cursory searching it seems Mrs Judd is a presenter on Channel Nine's travel show Postcards and is filling in as the Nine News weathergirl while Livinia Nixon is on maternity leave.
Now, I don't make a habit of watching Channel Two & A Half Men, so it's not surprising that Rebecca's latest ventures slipped under my radar.
But it got me thinking. Firstly, that Chris and Rebecca are no longer the AFL's power couple; and secondly, why hasn't anybody stepped up to assume the mantle?
Rebecca Judd's fortunes have mirrored that of her husband's – their stocks have dipped since their highs in the mid-2000s. Chris was once the AFL's top player; this year Mike Sheahan ranked him 18th in the annual top 50, behind even Carlton teammate Marc Murphy.
For a time, Gary Ablett and Lauren Phillips were to Victoria what Judd and Twigley were to Western Australia. Then he moved to the Suns and they quietly broke up. Buddy Franklin and Kasia Z were another couple on the rise before they split in late 2011. And remember when the media was briefly enamoured with Josh Gibson and that girl who wasn't Nicole Scherzinger?
It's a sad state of affairs. Right now there is no spiritual successor to Nathan and Tania Buckley or Pia Miller and her husband. The AFL can boast no equivalent to Michael and Kyly Clarke, or Braith Anasta and Jodi Gordon.
I'm no expert but this seems to be a glaring hole in the marketplace. Surely there are untold magazine spreads, television gigs and modelling contracts just waiting for the right girl and guy to launch themselves as a brand.
With that in mind, here are some basic criteria for any couple with designs on being the AFL's king and queen of the red carpet:
- Must be a top-20 player
- Should be playing for a top-eight side
- Has to clean up well
- Bonus points for winning the Brownlow
- Must be independently successful
- Should know how to work the media
- Has to clean up well
- Bonus points for winning the Brownlows
So where are our contenders?
Buddy Franklin would own this category if he settled down with somebody other than Sharrod Wellingham, while Megan Gale would comfortably wear the crown if she traded up from Shaun Hampson, who just isn't in the same league as a Franklin, Ablett or Judd.
In the meantime, our tip for the AFL's next power couple is Scott Pendlebury and Alex Davis.
Pendles is clearly a footballer on the rise with a premiership and a Norm Smith Medal to his name. Davis, a Chadwick model, may be a little light on profile in footy circles but that's nothing an agent and a few endorsement deals (or a plunging neckline) can't fix.
Another couple worth watching: Trent Cotchin and Brooke Kennedy, who could also make a bolt for top spot this year, especially if the Tigers make their long-awaited return to September.
Think you know who the next AFL power couple could be? Let us know in the comments.
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