The Geelong Football Club and Jimmy Bartel have mutually agreed to the terms of  the champion midfielder’s retirement from the game after a stellar career that saw Bartel win three premierships, a Brownlow medal, the Norm Smith medal and the Jim Stynes award for community service over 15 seasons.
One of the AFL’s bravest players, Bartel was just the fourth Geelong player to reach the 300 game plateau. Bartel emerged on the winning side in 213 of his 305 games and was at the core of the Cats' dominant run over the past decade. Bartel finishes his career as just one of two players to have collected 300 games, three premierships, a Brownlow medal and a Norm Smith medal.
"I wanted to take my time once the season finished before I made this decision,” Bartel said.
“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.
"There are so many people to thank. First and foremost thanks goes to my and Nadia’s families, my mum and stepdad Rob, sisters Olivia and Emma. Nadia and Aston who have helped me enjoy the career I have had and grow into the person that I am today.
“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."
Geelong Cats coach Chris Scott paid tribute to Bartel.
“Jimmy is the embodiment of what a footballer should be,” Scott said.
“He was fearless, could play multiple roles for the good of the team and was adaptable in a changing game. Jimmy will rightly go down as an icon of the Geelong Football Club, and he has left a lasting mark on all those that he has played with over the past 15 seasons.
“Jimmy was always prepared and as history has shown, he was at his best in the biggest moments and the biggest games.”
Jimmy Bartel through the years
·         Selected by the Cats with the 8th pick in the 2001 national draft
·         Debuted in round 1, 2002 against Essendon at MCG
·         Member of 2007, 2009, 2011 premiership teams
·         Member of 2006, 2009 NAB Cup winning teams
·         Won 2007 Brownlow medal with 29 votes
·         Won 2011 Norm Smith medal
·         Won 2016 Jim Stynes award
·         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