October 10 2003
By Mark Heenan

THE GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB has renewed it promise to keep it's best young talent at the club after signing on-baller James Bartel to a new deal.

The 19-year old, who turns 20 in December has played 24 games for the Cats since 2002 after being selected at No.8 in the 2001 National draft from the Geelong Falcons.

Despite many critics suggesting Bartel would be used as possible trade bait by Geelong at the end of the season, Cats CEO Brian Cook believes Bartel will play a key role at the club's future.

" James has shown that he has the talent and the desire to be a key contributor for the club and we are looking forward to his further development in the coming year " Cook told the Geelong Independent

Even Geelong coach Mark Thomson says the plan was always to sign Bartel to a new deal, according to a report in the Herald Sun " Never at any stage did we want to lose James " said Thomson, who has just recently signed a new contract to stay at the Cats till the end of 2005.

Meanwhile Geelong has also regained the services of ruckman Paul Chambers after signing a new deal with the club. Chambers, was picked up by the Cats in the rookie draft before being elevated to the senior list in 2002.

" Paul proved last season that he can succeed at AFL level. We feel he will continue to develop and offer support for Steven King " Brian Cook said.