Jimmy Bartel’s recently announced retirement from the Geelong Cats means that there are no longer an active players whose resumes can list playing more than 300 games, winning a Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal and winning three premierships.
The only other was Simon Black, who retired in 2013 after 16 seasons with the Brisbane Lions.
Bartel waited until well after the 2016 AFL season concluded, taking his time to weigh his options and make an informed decision away from the normal environment where players often feel that they are immortal and youth is eternal.
Bartel will be 33 at the beginning of December, and it is possible that he could have played on. His durability was remarkable, and save for his first three seasons and the 2015 season, he played 20 or more games every season.
He won his Brownlow in 2007 and the Norm Smith in 2011. He, along with the other Cats, won premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011, meaning that if we were to be hypercritical, we could fault him for never having won a premiership in an even-numbered year.
His 300th game came in round 19 of the past season, where he added a celebratory goal to go along with a 103 – 78 win over this year’s premiership claimants, the Western Bulldogs.