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Jude Bolton - Champ or Chump

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For many years Jude Bolton has been a popular whipping boy.
Not highly skilled. Hot and cold. Pretty boy.
But as Dennis Commetti once said, "looks like Jane, plays like Tarzan".
From the first day that I remember him, he was on the bottom of the packs, and last to get up.
Playing in his 13th season the boy from Calder Cannons, Jude has reinvented himself as a fill in forward.

He is 1 of 10 players from the 1998 National Draft still playing. At pick #8 for the Swans, he has played the most games from that draft. His nearest rival is Lenny Hayes who looks unlikely to close the gap, any time soon. He played 9 games in his first season, culminating in a final against Essendon, in a game that the bombers dominated, he still managed 13 possessions as the youngest player on the ground.

He held down a regular spot, even though Sydney still boasted the likes of Maxfield, Creswell, Schwass and Kelly. Soon Kirk and Williams would join Jude in the centre, and while Williams eventually called it a day, Jude and Brett Kirk would go on to form the heart and soul of the swans engine room. While Kirk would stop his opponent, Jude was throwing himself head first into packs, generally coming out with the ball, a free kick, or a helmet.
This was evident on Grand Final Day 2005. No more needs to be said about that one day in September!!

After having some indifferent form over the coming years, and people were writing him off. He was past his best. But No, Jude had no part of that and had one of his best seasons yet in 2010.
499 disposals, and 10 Brownlow votes.
Not his best year for Brownlow votes, but the team finished the season 5 points away from a Prelim Final. Many new players around him. Maybe he's becoming a father figure to the younger brigade.

Now in 2011, Jude started in the middle against Melbourne, and when things looked a bit tough up forward, who was put there and came up with 3 goals, and one of the marks of the round? Jude.
Round 2, against the bombers, who got the first 2 centre breaks against the much more fancied midfield of the bombers. Jude.
Who again kicked 3 goals including the winning goal? Jude.
25 possessions, 17 contested possessions, 11 clearances, 6 frees for, 9 tackles, and 3.1.
This is pretty poor for Jude, considering he had a world record 26 CONTESTED possessions against the bombers last year.

Hasn't won a Browlow.
Hasn't won a Bob Skilton.
Hasn't won RWO's own TLM award.
But he has won a place in Sydney Swans hearts - fans, players and staff.

Never a champion but always a champ.

Love your work B1!!!

EDIT Jude is about to play his 300th AFL game and become a life member of the AFL. He plays his 300th in the cut throat Semi-Final against the Hawks, alongside fellow team mate Adam Goodes who plays his 300th game for the Sydney Swans.

EDIT:2012 Jude is about to play his 300th AFL game for the Sydney Swans in the Preliminary Final against Collingwood on Friday Night.
Has been a superstar since I wrote this last year.
Still playing like a 20YO!!

Quote from his lovely wife.
My amazing hubby. Few more battle scars but not much has changed over 300 games. Still chases ball like a Jack Russell! "Where's the Ball? Where's the ball"
How true.

Ironic, that you posted this just as I was finishing up this blog!!
Video by ABloodsMan

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Updated 17th September 2012 at 09:16 AM by ScottH

Sydney Swans , Seniors , AFL - General


  1. Frog's Avatar
    He is 1 of 10 players from the 2008 National Draft still playing.
    You may want to change that to 1998 - unless I find the edit button first ...

    But good write-up ... I like B1.
  2. ScottH's Avatar
    Done, thanks.

    PS: Hover over title, and a pencil will appear to the right of it. Click that and you're in edit mode.

    Thanks for the comment.
  3. Big Al's Avatar
    Brilliant write up Scott. Sums up B1 perfectly.

  4. ScottH's Avatar
    Thanks Al!!!
  5. GongSwan's Avatar
    absolute team player, hence no individual awards
  6. ScottH's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by GongSwan
    absolute team player, hence no individual awards
    Very true mate!!!
  7. ShockOfHair's Avatar
    Prescient blog post Scott. Bolton's been sensational this year. Must be a chance for the Skilton or even the TLM!

    I'm sure if he played cricket for Australia he'd be dropped. Too old and playing far too well.
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