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Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel slams diving accusations as rubbish

Bartel lurched forward, winning a free kick.

Bartel lurched forward, winning a free kick. Photo: Channel Seven

Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel has stridently defended himself against accusations of exaggerating contact with Hawthorn opponent Matthew Suckling last Saturday night, labelling the perception that he dived to win a free kick "a load of rubbish."

Bartel floated forward after what appeared to be slight contact from Suckling during an aerial contest involving Suckling and fellow Hawk Jordan Lewis midway through the second quarter of the match at the MCG.

After landing on all fours, Bartel was awarded a free kick and subsequently goaled. He was then subjected to raucous boos from Hawthorn fans, and has endured a week of condemnation for what was widely perceived as a dive.

'It was over-acting there': Cameron Ling.

'It was over-acting there': Cameron Ling. Photo: Channel Seven

The 2007 Brownlow Medalist was adamant that his intention was never to deceive the umpire, decrying what he felt was criticism of his character.

"I think it's a load of rubbish to be honest. If you're running flat out for the ball and you're jumping and you've got someone who puts any sort of contact behind you you're going to go forward," Bartel told radio SEN on Thursday morning.

"I'm not sure what people wanted me to do, maybe flip my legs out and land on my back?"

"At no stage did I actually think for a free kick. I just got perfect timing... even Suckling fell over doing it.

"I just put my hands down actually to brace myself for a fall. Probably in hindsight I shouldn't do that, I should just fall on my back or something like that."

Bartel was not cited by the match review panel for the incident. The MRP tends only to charge players with staging if they fall without any contact being made.

The 30-year-old suggested that while he did not mind the jeers, he was affronted by the criticism he has received this week in the media. Bartel's former Cats teammate Cameron Ling said on Channel Seven during the game that Bartel was "well and truly acting," but later argued that he should not be "hung" for the offence.

"It sort of questions a bit of your integrity, the way you play the game. I feel over my career I feel I've played the game hard and fair and within the rules," Bartel said of the backlash.

"It's pretty disappointing. I've played a lot of footy and people think straight away what I was doing was playing for a free kick.

"I can see it looks bad, but I can only tell you how I was feeling in the moment.

"I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, how I'm supposed to contort my body backwards and mark it.

"Probably the fact I kicked a goal out of it made everyone more upset and I can understand that."

The 269-game veteran indicated he was not losing any sleep about the criticism, but he would continue to defend himself if challenged about the incident.

He did so at the start of his interview on SEN when former Hawk great and media pundit Dermott Brereton facetiously asked Bartel to rate the degree of difficulty for the dive.

"I've moved on and put it to bed, but if someone asks me what I thought about it, I'm going to say what I think. I always have."

89 comments so far

  • There's a bit of the doping professional cyclist in you Jimmy...deny, deny deny. Don't take the public as fools. Even two of your former captains couldn't defend you.

    Date and time
    August 28, 2014, 10:29AM
    • bartel has form in this area - look forward pocket city end 2011 GF

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 11:16AM
    • Oh come on. Comparing a 50/50 free kick explanation to a drug taker/denier - is a fair way off the mark.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 11:24AM
    • Hawthorn supporters are a breed apart aren't they. They were booing the umpires at quarter time despite a 5-3 free kick count in their favour. Their absolute belief that they are entitled to receive every free kick is staggering. Especially coming after the umpires handed them the Grand Final last year, you'd think they'd be more grateful to the men in white.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 1:15PM
    • @person Nice try - diverting attention away from your merry band of free kick stagers in your team. Just how did the umpires hand Hawthorn the grand final last year. You are a muppet of the highest order, one might say you are in the nose bleed section.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 1:51PM
    • It's not just Jimmy and bit of a team Geelong thing. I can't recall having a conversation about the team without the subject of ducking and diving coming up. They don't seem to care about negative perceptions if it gets them free kicks. Seems to be inherent in the game they play and if anyone doubts me just watch them next time they come under scoreboard pressure. Selwood pushes back and stays there to win some frees and relieve. The game against Carlton a few weeks back was a classic case of Geelong putting Carlton under enormous free kick pressure to stem the Blues run on. The umpires seem to revel in in too and the Carlton game was absolute free kick carnage in the second half.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 3:09PM
  • I'm not really sure why these reports keep mentioning "contact". I saw the game, and the TV replays afterwards, and neither of the hawthorn players actually made contact with Bartel. This is clear from at least a couple of angles. Jimmy is correct when he said he got his timing perfect - he dove at exactly the right moment to make it look from the umps perspective that was pushed in the back. Except he wasn't touched. The criticism of Bartel is totally valid, it was a cynical dive. He would have been better off admitting it, declaring it out of character and moving on.

    Date and time
    August 28, 2014, 10:34AM
    • I disagree, I can clearly see contact. But it was minimal and certainly not the cause of his sudden thrust foward (well after the contact). Clearly it was a dive. Yes he put his hands down to brace for the fall as he said, but he thrust himself forward so hard he almost did a somersault.
      Although this was a pretty bad example, players do exaggerate contact and play for frees all the time, so I am more offended by Bartel treating everyone like a fool than anything.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 11:38AM
    • Correct uh-uh.
      In fact I'd say Jimmy's was the prettiest swan-dive I ve seen in around thirty years.
      My main football code is Rugby Union, but I also follow follow soccer and as well as the AFL. Whilst soccer players - particularly from southern Europe - are particularly adept divers, the best swan-dive I've ever seen took place at Manly Oval in Sydney way back in the early 1980s.
      Then Randwick captain, Ray Evans, faked being knocked out cold by Manly player Greg Marr in front of the ref. Marr was wrongly sent off as a consequence. Evans 'miraculously' recovered and continued, but nobody - including other Randwick players - spoke to him after the game! Obviously everyone was ashamed of his conduct.
      Meanwhile Jimmy, your effort was darn good. Hope everyone at Geelong is still speaking to you.

      Chas Lima
      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 1:33PM
    • @Joe: Yes, he claims "you're jumping and you've got someone who puts any sort of contact behind you you're going to go forward", but if there was any contact it was in the lower back. So why did he fling his head forward?!? If someone pushes you in the lower back, either your whole body goes forward, or possibly your head goes back relative to the rest of your body. He may have felt contact and, in a split second decision, decided to try to milk the free kick, but I'd have more respect for him if he was honest about it now.

      Date and time
      August 28, 2014, 3:03PM

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