Swans veteran says youngsters do it tough - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans veteran says youngsters do it tough

Adrian Warren 01/04/2011 06:53:03 PM Comments (0)

Sydney stalwart Jude Bolton says he feels sorry for players entering the AFL because the game is becoming tougher and more demanding every year.

One of the great warhorses of the AFL, Bolton is preparing to saddle up for his 259th AFL appearance on Sunday against James Hird's vibrant Essendon side at ANZ Stadium.

The two outfits took different approaches to team selection on Friday, with Essendon going bigger and Sydney the opposite.

The Bombers chose a third ruckman in Tom Bellchambers to add to in-form duo Patrick Ryder and David Hille, while Sydney went with just Shane Mumford, leaving out Mike Pyke and opting for extra midfield depth in Craig Bird and Brett Meredith.

Just one round into the new season, 31-year-old Bolton has already noted the continuing rise in tempo of a competition he first graced back in 1999.

"It's definitely a quicker game, it's different with three interchange players, It just makes it a lot tougher to run out the game," Bolton said before Sydney training on Friday.

"I thought there was a fair few rolling mauls towards the end of games just watching across round one and certainly guys were off their feet.

"It will be interesting to see whether that was just round one or whether the interchange has made a huge difference, so let's just wait and see how it goes this next round."

He wasn't concerned the increasing speed and demands of the game would curtail his own career, but wasn't so sure about the next generation.

"I feel like I can still run out games well enough, but I feel sorry for the guys who step into the game now, because it is certainly more demanding each year and with a limited number of interchanges it makes it a lot tougher," Bolton said.

Bolton kicked three goals in Sydney's season-opening draw against Melbourne and was nominated for mark of the week, but he was adamant the time spent playing up forward wasn't a case of an old dog learning new tricks.

"I don't know aboutthat, I suppose that's the game these days, you've got to be able to have a little bit of versatility and you see guys resting up there and having different spells to be able to limit those number of rotations," Bolton said.

With Sydney dropping two points against Melbourne after leading for most of the game, Bolton acknowledged the importance of collecting maximum spoils on Sunday.

"It's massive for us. We want to start the year really well, we know it's going to be a huge challenge against Essendon," Bolton said.

Coach John Longmire stressed Essendon's emphasis on defence was creating opportunities for their offence, after they racked up 71 inside 50s in their blowout round one win over the Bulldogs.

Longmire also wasn't concerned about freshly laid grass on the ANZ Stadium surface.

"It's going to be the same for Essendon, so I don't think it will play a huge factor in the game," Longmire said.

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