Scott ‘ bolts’ in as a leader
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.”