Swans players often enjoy the anonymity of living in the Harbour City, but it was not the case for Jude Bolton at today’s Paul Kelly Cup Carnival at Gwawley Oval, Taren Point.
Hundreds of kids flocked as the Swans crew, led by Bolton, arrived at the carnival as part of the Australia Post AFL Community Camp program.
Students from Gymea Bay Public School, Lilli Pilli Public School, Yowie Bay Public School, Caringbah Public School and St John Bosco Catholic School jumped at their chance to meet Bolton, as well as Marty Mattner, Ben McGlynn and Tom Mitchell, who also visited the carnival.
Speaking to SwansTV after the Paul Kelly Cup round robin, Bolton said he was thrilled to see so much interest in AFL in Sydney schools.
“It’s wonderful to come down to the Paul Kelly Cup matches because boys and girls of all ages are playing and it’s great to see the AFL goals set up,” he said.
“It’s just the sport that I grew up with and I love and it’s just good to see kids so interested in it and loving it.”
Today’s program marked day two of the Swans AFL Community Camp, with players visiting regional cities across the state including Wollongong, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Gosford and Armidale.
Bolton, who has taken part in the Sydney leg of the community camps, said it was a positive experience for the club to be involved in the program.
“We’ve been to a lot of different schools today as part of the Community Camps and we’ve still got after school visits to come and then junior visits as well as some of the senior clubs this evening,” he said.
“I love knowing that all the guys are across the state and in different places and that we’re putting smiles on people’s faces all around the place.”
It wasn’t all fun and games for Bolton at today’s carnival, with the club veteran also fronting the media ahead of the Swans first NAB Cup match at Blacktown International Sports Park this Sunday.
Bolton said he was unlikely to take part in this weekend’s contests against cross town rival GWS and Carlton, but was planning to be back amongst the action in the Swans’ second round clash against the Saints in Melbourne the following week.
“I think I might have this week off and will get ready for the following week,” Bolton said.
“It’s just one of those things where you have to try and manage your minutes and get prepared for round one.
“I’m just enjoying every training session and every time we get to compete and that’s certainly the way I’ll attack the NAB Cup as well as the first round.”