Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel has announced his retirement after 305 games with the Cats.
Bartel had triggered a clause in his contract for a contract extension in 2017, however, has opted to pull the pin on his illustrious career.
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“I wanted to take my time once the season finished before I made this decision,” Bartel told the club’s website.
“I am forever grateful to have been drafted by the Cats and I hope in some way to have repaid the faith that was shown in me all those years ago. While I feel I still have more to give, I understand the bigger picture and respect the direction the club wants to move in. So therefore I have decided the time is now right to retire from the game.
“Over the past 15 years I have played out every dream I ever had and I leave the game satisfied that I have given everything I had in every game. To have played with my home town club and to have shared in the success we have had has been an incredible experience.
“I was very fortunate to have played with some amazing players, but even more importantly better men, which always made the game fun. I always looked forward to coming into the club and will miss that. However, I am excited to weigh up my options and to explore the next step.
“My close circle of mates whose loyalty and support have been unwavering. My teammates and staff at the club that have made footy enjoyable. The great people at both Bell Park Football Club and the Falcons helped me along this journey. And of course to the supporters that have been there week in and week out. Some of my greatest memories will be of being on the outer wing and hearing you chant my name. Sincerely, thank-you. You made me feel at home for 15 years.
“I’m sure the club will continue to have success and look forward to bringing my family to Kardinia Park and seeing the many young players fulfil their potential in the coming years.”
Bartel’s honour roll:
· Recruited with pick No.8 in the 2001 national draft
· Member of 2007, 2009, 2011 premiership teams
· Member of 2006, 2009 NAB Cup winning teams
· 2007 Brownlow medalalis
· 2011 Norm Smith medalalist
· 2016 Jim Stynes award winner
· All Australian 2007, 2008
· Runner up Geelong best & fairest 2006, 2007
· Third Geelong best & fairest 2008, 2009, 2011
· Played a club record 28 finals matches
· Played 305 games and kicked 202 goals