I’m not a Carlton fan and I’ve never wanted to have its former captain sitting on my desk, which is why it’s kind of weird that I willingly clicked on a link entitled “buy a Chris Judd bobble-head” at the bottom of a news story the other day.
But I’m sure glad I did.
What I learned – which I hadn’t previously realised –  is that Judd looks uncannily like his teammate Mitch Robinson. Either that or Eminem has taken to dressing in a Blues jumper, as opposed to the promo from a few years back when Carlton wore jumpers in the colours of blue M&Ms.
Naturally, the Judd experience piqued my curiosity as to what other AFL bobble-heads might look like. To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, “these are the worst-looking bobble-heads I ever saw”.
The resin version of Essendon skipper Jobe Watson bears an odd resemblance to long-time Manchester United star Ryan Giggs. But really, without the name plate on the base,  he could be any bloke walking down the street in a Bombers guernsey with short-cropped brown hair and the designer stubble of an Eastern European hitman (“where’s Jobe’s big nose?” one colleague asked).
Similar story for Collingwood star Scott Pendlebury, who with his bobble hair cut seems to be auditioning for the Brit Pop scene of the mid-1990s. Truth be told, it actually took me a while to get around to noticing Pendlebury’s do because my attention was initially focussed on his shorts. It would appear he is quite excited by the goal he is celebrating.
I have vague memories of a hidden cam skit on a short-lived footy show a couple of years back in which Nick Riewoldt was required to march into a bakery and tell the cashier “I’m like a better-looking version of Adam McPhee”. That, I imagine, would explain why his bobble-head doll comes equipped with kewpie doll eyes (although it’s still a mystery why the left one is gazing  sideways).
It was also news to me that both Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield were so auburn-headed but you do, by all accounts, find out something new every day. Dangerfield’s bobble doll has a vague look of Prince Harry about it (Paddy is, after all,  Adelaide royalty), while a surprisingly non-bleeding Selwood seems to be channeling a bit of Rick Astley. Certainly one can’t imagine Geelong fans ever wanting to give him up.
And then there is West Coast star Nic Naitanui. I’m potentially headed towards dangerous territory here so I think I’ll just invite you guys to look at the attached gallery and judge for yourselves whether you think Nic Nat’s bobble-head looks much like him.
So unlike-the-real-thing are the AFL bobbleheads, which are sold at popcultcha.com.au, that I at first figured they must have been an unlicensed product being sold on the sly (at a cool $39.95).
But an enquiry to the AFL Players Association revealed the dolls had been approved by the AFLPA, the AFL and the agents of the players involved, although I’m told there was some adjustments required to the facial hair of the early Watson prototype.
“It’s important to note we have not received any complaints in relation to any individual or collective players’ images being used across the current range of licensed products, including the bobble-heads,” the AFLPA said.
The AFLPA also wanted it noted that the licensing of the products was not contingent on an exact likeness to the players concerned, as there was allowance made for caricature.
Personally I would have thought the idea of caricature was to accentuate the existing features of players (eg this year’s Coles AFL figurines, Pav’s schnozz in 300th game posters) rather than assigning highly recognisable stars with an amorphous look.
But would what I know, I’m just a guy who hadn’t realised Chris Judd and Mitch Robinson were separated at birth.
In any case, a second wave of the bobble-heads are due out in 2015. Can’t wait to see what they do with the likes of Gary Ablett, Nat Fyfe, recently-crowned Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis and Tom Hawkins.
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