Having seen gun forward Jarryd Roughead star with a career-high eight goals, Bolton also reserved plenty of praise for debutant ruckman Luke Lowden, who more than held his own against the Eagles’ famed ruck division.
“A lot of our leaders were disappointed with their performance (last week) and we thought we lacked a bit of polish (against the Giants),” Bolton told reporters in Launceston.
“What’s really pleasing is our three leaders on the ground, Hodge, Lewis and Roughead stood up, won contested footy and showed the way for the others.
“The big thing to come out of that is good leadership and it really helps.”
Roughead was hobbled during the first quarter following a knock to his lower leg in the lead-up to his first goal, but recovered spectacularly to kick five by half-time and eight for the match.
The versatile forward also took eight marks – five contested – laid six tackles, and set up several other goal-scoring opportunities in a stunning all-round performance.
“(He is a) very proud person (who) wasn’t happy with how he performed last week, and he’s kicked eight goals and also laid some really good tackles,” Bolton said.
“The mix of pressure and being able to score is really important for us and it just shows the character of the man.”
Also showing plenty of spirit was 23-year-old Lowden, who finally broke through for his first AFL start in his sixth season at the club.
Alongside fellow rookie Jonathon Ceglar, Lowden competed bravely against the much-fancied combination of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui, and finished his debut game with three goals and 13 hit-outs.
“Isn’t that exciting for a young bloke?” Bolton said.
“He arrived in 2009 weighing somewhere between 75 and 80 kilograms, so he worked hard to build his frame. Our club has had to be patient and wait because bigger blokes take time, and against two quality ruckmen he held his own.
“To kick three goals, he’s going to remember that and feel that emotion.
“It’s a good story. That’s what footy’s about, isn’t it? People get opportunities and they step up and they have to.”