Jude Bolton wants to remain in football when his playing days are over
AS HE embarks on his 15th season, Sydney Swans veteran Jude Bolton is well into planning for life after football – which could include a move into an AFL club's front office.
Third on the Swans' all-time list with 301 appearances, Bolton should quickly pass Michael O'Loughlin (303) this year and sit behind only Adam Goodes (319), his teammate from the very beginning, in club history.
His enthusiasm and love for the game is as strong as ever and the 33-year-old "still feels quite young", but he does have one eye on the future.
"A little bit of media, as well as doing my post-grad in commerce at Sydney Uni," Bolton told AFL.com.au
when asked about his post-football plans.
"I want to make sure I knock that over and I might also get accredited as a player agent as well.
"I like the mentorship of young guys and just want to stay involved in football and could maybe one day come back as a general manager of footy or something."
Dean Moore, however, the Swans' current football manager, doesn't need to start looking over his shoulder just yet.
There had been speculation 2012 could be Bolton's final season as he notched up 300 games and overcame a knee injury late in the year to play a part in his second premiership.
It did cross his mind to transition from a flag into the next phase of his life, but says it wasn't a difficult decision to don his beloved No.24 guernsey for another year.
"It wasn't much to think about," he said.
"My body's still feeling good, I still love the game and love playing with my teammates, and it wasn't much of a decision in the end.
"I had a good chat to my wife and my family and got back into it and got ready for the pre-season and obviously it's in the past now and we get into it."
And it only took one glance at Bolton during the pre-season to realise his hunger still remained.
He continues to drive his teammates onwards, while also pushing himself to get all he can out of his body, even though Bolton concedes he has a "really good relationship with my physios" due to his ongoing knee issues.
The Swans hardly set the world alight during the NAB Cup, but Bolton is unperturbed about their form heading into the new campaign, starting with Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.
"Results haven't been great, but in the last 15 years pre-season results haven't been outstanding either," he said.
"It is what it is and we're ready for round one.
"We saw how well GWS played against us in the pre-season competition and all their guys are really fit and strong.
"But we're also confident in our game plan and confident in each other.
"We'll be ready when we're running out.
"I can't wait."
Jude Bolton is a midfielder in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 87.63 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.
James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD