SYDNEY Swans coach John Longmire has hailed the retiring Jude Bolton as an "absolute champion" of the club.

Bolton, whose 325-game career ended with a preliminary final loss to Fremantle at Patersons Stadium, has been a key leadership figure under Longmire during his coach's three seasons at the helm.

Victorious Dockers players interrupted their post-game celebrations to join the Swans in a guard of honour as Bolton was chaired from the field after the game.

"He's an absolute champion of the football club on and off the field," Longmire said.

"He's one of the good blokes and he's an absolute beauty and you saw the mutual respect that he's got from an opposition club."

Bolton said he would miss the competiveness of football more than anything else after calling time on his career.

Bolton was starved of opportunities in attack in his last game, having just one handball to half-time as the Swans were blown off the park in first half.

But he bobbed up with an important goal in the third quarter as the Swans attempted to mount a challenge.

Bolton said he would now take a step away from the game, but enjoyed media work and would consider becoming more involved as a player manager.

The heavy defeat was a disappointing way to end for the dual premiership player, who was chaired off the ground through a guard of honour from both teams.

Bolton admitted emotions got the better of him in the immediate aftermath of his final match.

"It's just you're so close to the big one, you can sort of taste it and now you have to be those envious people that sort of sit back in the stands and watch it," Bolton said.

"To end like that is a bit disappointing, but we move on."

Fremantle's relentless pressure and dominant display at the stoppages were too much for the undermanned Swans to handle.

It was that hard contest for the ball on week-to-week basis that Bolton said he would miss most in retirement.

"I'll have to find another competitive outlet or release somewhere," Bolton said.

"I'll miss the camaraderie of the boys and competing week in, week out."

The Dockers were in the middle of their victory celebrations when they stopped to help send-off Bolton, who thanked his opponents afterwards for the gesture.

"I said to (Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich) you don't have to do that, especially going into a grand final, you should just be enjoying it," Bolton said.

"They're a great club and really well led by those sort of guys and I really appreciate it."