Jude Bolton has been awarded the 2013 AFL Players’ Madden Medal, in front of 650 industry guests and peers at the Grand Ballroom, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.
The AFL Players’ Association Madden Medal is awarded to the retiring player who has demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of their playing career. The Award is voted on by the Board of the AFL Players’ Association. This year’s poll saw Bolton come in ahead of other Madden Medal nominees Adam Selwood, Andrew Embley, David Rodan, Aaron Davey, Jason Blake, Nathan Lovett-Murray and David Hille.
Bolton becomes the third Swan in the Award’s seven year history to take home the prestigious Madden Medal, following in the footsteps of Brett Kirk (2010) and Michael O Loughlin (2009).
Bolton accepted the award in person, from Justin Madden, and thanked his former teammates and clubs for their support throughout his career.
“To be recognised by your peers is an honour and I’m completely chuffed. I count myself as one of the lucky ones to have played this game for the past 15 years,” said Bolton.
“Football brings people together and some of the highlights of my career would have to be the grand finals. To be able to deliver a premiership to the Swans and South Melbourne fans after 72 years was really special.”
“I sensed early on in my career that if you invested in the community, you get so much more out of it.”
“I sensed early on in my career that if you invested in the community, you get so much more out of it.” – Jude Bolton
AFL Players’ President Luke Ball said Bolton leaves the game as undoubtedly one of the most respected players of the past decade.
“He’s laid more tackles than any other player in the history of the game and is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve come across. Yet off the field he is such a gentlemen and give so much back to the community, so you can’t help but respect everything about him,” said Ball.
Described by St Kilda’s Lenny Hayes as “the ultimate competitor”, Bolton hangs up the boots after 325 games as a dual Sydney Premiership player and a key figure in shaping the club’s famous ‘Bloods culture’, having been an official member of the Swans’ leadership group from 2009 to 2013.
AFL Players’ CEO Matt Finnis said Bolton’s tenacity on the field, was equally matched by his passion off the field, where he had given so much back to the game and the community.
“Jude is a great testament to the Sydney Swans culture, that focuses heavily on developing their players as people and has produced three of the seven winners of this prestigious award,” said Finnis.
Bolton has been an ambassador for Redkite, a charity that supports young people with cancer,for 13 years and has worked closely with the Volkswagen Environmental Program.
He has been a club delegate for the AFL Players’ Association since 2006 – where he will be greatly missed – and had an off-field leadership role in the ‘Team Swans Community Program’ between 2001 and 2008.
Bolton may maintain some involvement with AFL – he gained accreditation as a player agent in 2012 – but also has a Bachelor of Commerce under his belt, should he choose to follow a career path away from the game in 2014 and beyond.
Bolton joins Luke Power (2012), Cameron Ling (2011), Brett Kirk (2010), Michael O Loughlin (2009), Robert Harvey (2008) and Glenn Archer (2007) as winners of this prestigious award.