Scott ‘ bolts’ in as a leader

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

HE’S the no- non­sense prop driv­ing North Queens­land’s in­jury- de­pleted en­gine room, but the Cow­boys be­lieve Scott Bolton’s big­gest im­prove­ment this sea­son has been off the field.

Bolton ( pic­tured) has been thrust into the spot­light as a front- row leader in 2017 fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous knee in­jury to co- cap­tain Matt Scott and the off- sea­son de­par­tures of James Tamou and Ben Han­nant.

The 30- year- old has al­ways been the quiet achiever, com­ing off the bench in more than half of his 195 ap­pear­ances for the Cow­boys, but he has thrived with the ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity this sea­son.

Bolton is play­ing around 20 min­utes more per game as a start­ing prop and churn­ing out 133 me­tres and 30 tack­les, well up on his av­er­ages from last year.

The rest of North Queens- land’s mid­dle ro­ta­tion is light on ex­pe­ri­ence, with the likes of John Asi­ata ( 24 years old), Corey Jensen ( 23), and Coen Hess ( 20), and coach Paul Green said he was de­lighted to see Bolton step­ping up as a leader.

“The most pleas­ing part with ‘ Bolts’ is prob­a­bly his lead­er­ship off the field. He’s re­ally taken some own­er­ship in that area,” Green said.

“He’s a pretty quiet sort of a bloke so he’s been a re­luc­tant leader in some re­spects, but he’s re­ally rel­ished that role he’s played this year given we lost Matt Scott so early in the sea­son.

“His con­sis­tency on the field’s been great over the last few years, but it’s been that lead­er­ship off the field this year where he’s re­ally made a dif­fer­ence.”

Born in In­n­is­fail, Bolton un­der­stands what it means to wear the Cow­boys jersey bet­ter than most, but his love for the North Queens­land life­style has oc­ca­sion­ally been at odds with his rugby league tal­ents.

The keen an­gler takes every op­por­tu­nity to wet a line when he’s not play­ing foot­ball and the Cow­boys were forced to ques­tion Bolton’s ded­i­ca­tion early in his NRL ca­reer.

Green re­called a sim­i­lar chat with the laid- back coun­try boy shortly af­ter he took the Cow­boys post in 2014, but he be­lieved Bolton had now found the right bal­ance with his pas­sion away from footy.

“We had a con­ver­sa­tion just about whether he wanted to be a part- time foot­baller and part­time fish­er­man or whether he wanted to be a full- time foot­baller and fish when he could,” Green said.

“He’s found a re­ally good bal­ance on and off the field.”

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