Jude Bolton: 'I still think I can really compete at this level.' Photo: Getty Images
THE belief that he still has something to offer the AFL's premier team, and that rest has rejuvenated his battered left knee, has convinced Sydney veteran Jude Bolton to extend his 301-game career into a 15th season.
Bolton had been pondering his future for almost seven weeks since Sydney's epic 10-point win over Hawthorn in the grand final, and the 32-year-old who has captured two flags in a one-club career confirmed yesterday that he would be going around again, believing he still has plenty left in the tank.
''You hear people say you're a long time retired and I still think I can really compete at this level,'' Bolton told the Swans' website.
It wasn't an easy decision for the veteran midfielder, who completed this year's finals series with partially torn posterior and anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee.
''I wanted to let my knee settle down a little bit post-grand final and certainly it feels really good now,'' he said.
''You get that itch to start training again and certainly that happens after a couple of weeks off. Some of the guys have been overseas and they're starting to roll back in now.''
Testament to Bolton's renowned resilience is the fact he's already at the club preparing for next season, even though Swans pre-season doesn't start until December 7.
The late start is in sharp contrast to the many AFL clubs that have already embarked, or are soon to embark, on overseas altitude training trips.
Bolton was confident his teammates would be ready for next season, despite the shorter program.
''This will be one of the shortest pre-seasons for us, starting on December 7,'' Bolton said. ''It's pretty quick before Christmas and then after Christmas you're straight into games.
''It's not that hard at all to get motivated - I know how to get my body fit, it doesn't take that long, certainly the maintenance that we do during the off-season helps.''