Jimmy Bartel admits he has been taken aback by the recent news surrounding Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson.
The Essendon great and former Geelong coach had Port Melbourne house raided by police last Friday as part of an investigation into drug trafficking.
Thompson, 54, was subsequently arrested and then released without charge on Tuesday and the news has already hit the football community hard.
Cats legend Bartel won two premierships under Thompson and admits it was a shock to learn this of his old coach.
“To hear of Bomber Thompson being arrested as part of a drug trafficking investigation has been a massive shock,” said Bartel on Sportsday.
“Like everyone, I’m in the dark with the information and what’s going on but it certainly does rattle you.
“There’s a big group of us, almost like an ‘Ex-Cats Society’, and we catch up once a month and just talk footy and talk a bit of shop and talk rubbish as you do with old groups of mates.
“A lot of us, we’ve tried to send a message saying hopefully everything’s ok but you’d imagine his phone would be off."
Asked if he had noticed a change relating to Thompson’s mental health, Bartel said: “If anything, he seems pretty positive and focused.
“He’s a real energy for new interests in his life.
“He seemed fine, like the regular Bomber Thompson…”
Geelong CEO Brian Cook also touched on the ‘Bomber saga’ when speaking to Gerard Healy and Bartel on Sportsday.
“I saw Bomber just before Christmas and I thought he was really well,” said Cook.
“I had 8 or 9 years with Mark as colleagues. Premiership coach two times and you earn a deep respect for him and the way he worked.
“Then this has occurred now. It’s rather sad really and disappointing.
“Like a lot of other people I’m worried about Bomber and his health and I just hope that things do work out somehow in the end.”
Listen to Bartel and Cook’s thoughts on Thompson below: