Understated, unassuming and as humble as they come, North Queensland Toyota Cowboys veteran Scott Bolton will on Saturday join an elite group of clubmen when he runs out for his milestone 200th game at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Bolton will be the forwards leader against the Cronulla Sharks in his landmark match, the tireless Innisfail product at the business end of his 11th National Rugby League season.
And with a heavier than usual workload in 2017 due to the injury-induced absence of fellow prop and co-captain Matt Scott, Bolton has gone above and beyond as the club deals with its worst injury toll in years.
He is one of just five Cowboys to have played in all 21 matches this season to date, and is regularly punching out 60-plus minutes per game, more than in previous seasons where he was coming off the interchange bench.
By reaching the milestone on Saturday, Bolton becomes just the sixth player at the club to do so, the 200-game mark also triggering Cowboys’ life membership, where he will join five other Cowboys greats plus tireless volunteer Barry Buchanan and chairman Laurence Lancini.
The Cowboys’ 200 club
Matthew Bowen: 270
Johnathan Thurston: 270 – still playing
Matt Scott: 233 – still playing
Aaron Payne: 219
Paul Bowman: 203
Scott Bolton: 199 – still playing
“Yeah, it’s going to be a special night and the lead-up with my family has been special as well,” Bolton said.
“It’s been a terrific journey and I’ve loved every minute that I’ve spent at this great club.
“I’m really looking forward to it, and it’s something I’ll hold very dear to my heart, so hopefully we can go out there and get the job done.”
Bolton has never been one to revel in individual milestones, and, speaking to the gathered media on Friday, he recalled marking his 150th game without fuss nor fanfare.
He didn’t tell any of his teammates about it, but recalled it being one of the more special games in his storied career.
“It was in 2015 against the Storm in a preliminary final which led to us getting into the grand final,” Bolton said.
“I guess the rest is history and I was thinking about that the other day, and would say it’s one of the biggest games of my career.”
Head coach Paul Green praised Bolton for stepping up his on- and off-field leadership this year in the wake of their substantial injury toll.
“Boltsy’s been tremendous for us for a long time now, but this year in particular with all the challenges we’ve had with injuries, he’s led from the front and led by great example,” Green said.