Bolton played his first senior game for Sydney against Carlton in round 12 of the 1999 season and received a Rising Star Award nomination the following year. By 2001, he was a regular member of the team and went on to represent Australia in the International Rules series in 2004.
He was noted for his never ending determination to attack and go after the ball; Bolton often accumulated large numbers of tackles. In 2005, the season in which the Swans won their first premiership in 72 years using a tough man-on-man style of play, Bolton made 122 tackles, the 2nd highest for the club and 3rd overall in the AFL.
After a couple of years of arguably sub-par form and being floated as trade bait, Bolton stepped back up in 2009 and 2010 to play his best football. His contested ball winning, tackling and hardness at the contest were all areas in which he led the way for the Swans.
None of his performances were more impressive than his game against Essendon at the SCG in 2010, in which he picked up 36 disposals, 26 of which were contested, laid 12 tackles, won 5 free kicks, won 12 clearances and sent the ball inside forward 5 times. He also provided the handball to Adam Goodes for the match sealing goal.
Despite his tenacity and aggressive on the field, Jude Bolton is one of the nicest blokes you could meet. His credentials on the field set him apart as one of the legends of the game. Jude shares his view of the game and how he remains adamant that by today’s standards he wouldn’t get a look-in for selection.