Bartel wins big in his Brownlow debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bartel wins big in his Brownlow debut

Roger Vaughan 25/09/2007 12:28:57 AM Comments (0)

Jimmy Bartel has enjoyed the ultimate AFL Brownlow Medal night debut.

The 23-year-old Geelong midfielder attended the count for the first time and was a runaway winner of the game's highest individual award.

He missed the last two rounds of the season because of surgery to remove his appendix, but already had the award won.

Bartel looked sheepish and later admitted he was "embarrassed" when he polled three votes in round 20, his third best-afield in a row, to take his tally to an unbeatable 29 votes.

He finished well clear of three players on 22 - Brent Harvey of the Kangaroos, surprise mid-season leader Simon Black of Brisbane and West Coast's Daniel Kerr, who was ineligible.

"I'm probably still in shock at the moment, I can't believe it actually happened," he said a few minutes after the count had finished.

"Like everybody else, you watch players win them and you never see yourself there, so it's going to take quite a while to settle in.

"It's something someone can never take away from you and as the years go by, I will look on it very fondly, of course."

Bartel sheepishly said one of the reasons he had not attended the Brownlow until now was due to suspensions in previous seasons.

Geelong will play Port Adelaide in Saturday's AFL grand final and Bartel said there would be no distraction.

"I've got some pretty good team-mates who can keep you pretty grounded, because that's been our sole focus," he said.

"We've had a lot of things pop up for us this year, negative and positive, and I think we've dealt with them pretty well.

"The All-Australian night the other night, our winning streak, even the start of the year - we were supposedly a terrible list (and) we should start playing for draft picks.

"As a whole, as a club, we've dealt with everything really level-headed." Team-mate Gary Ablett was the favourite for the Brownlow, while Bartel was also expected to poll well.

Whatever feelings of regret that Bartel had that his long-time friend did not win were offset by Ablett's elation that he had won.

"Gary and I are very close, we've known each other for years and played junior football together," Bartel said.

"I really wanted to see him do well in everything.

"I found it pretty tough, but then again he was turning around and slapping me on the back every two seconds, so it was good fun."

Ablett was also among the leaders with 20.

Bartel's girlfriend is Danish and has gone home to study, so his "partner" was Geelong team-mate Tim Callan.

Fellow Cats midfielder Cameron Ling was giving Bartel a lift home to Geelong.

Bartel gave himself no chance but had different emotions altogether about Saturday.

"Destiny is probably a pretty good word....we've got a really good self-belief as a group," he said.

"We've obviously had our knockers during the year, but that helped bring us together and I couldn't see why we couldn't go well this year.

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