305. Brendon Bolton

Coach Inductee

Tassie Mariners/North Launceston/Tasmanian Devils/Clarence/North Hobart/Box Hill/Hawthorn/Carlton, 1995-2016

COACHING CAREER
60 games, North Hobart captain-coach, 2003-05
Six games, Tasmanian Devils senior coach, 2006
21 games, Clarence senior coach, 2008
41 games, Box Hill senior coach, 2009-10
Five games, Hawthorn senior coach, 2014
13 games, Carlton senior coach, 2016
Hawthorn assistant coach, 2011-15
Tasmanian Devils assistant coach, 2006

PLAYING CAREER
George Town U19 Premiership, 1994
Tassie Mariners, 1995-97
47 games, North Launceston, 1996-2001
24 games, Tasmanian Devils, 2001-02
Clarence, 2002 and 2008
North Hobart, 2003-07
North Launceston TFL premiership, 1998
Clarence SFL Premier League premiership, 2002
North Hobart SFL Premier League premiership, 2003
Horrie Gorringe Medal for SFL Premier League Best and Fairest, 2003
Darrel Baldock Medal for Best on Ground in TFL Grand Final, 1998
Multiple NTFL vs. SFL representative (including Weller Arnold medal for Best on Ground, 2003)

Hailing from George Town, Brendon Bolton first came to the football world’s attention in 1998, when, aged just 19, the highly skilful rover won the Darrel Baldock Medal as best on ground in North Launceston’s 1998 TFL premiership win over Clarence. After moving to Hobart and spending the 2002 season with Clarence where he won a second premiership, Bolton made his first foray into coaching in 2003, being appointed captain-coach of North Hobart at the age of just 24. A physical education teacher by profession, Bolton took to coaching with great skill, and in his first season the Demons romped to the premiership, demolishing Hobart to the tune of 110 points. Bolton’s own form was outstanding and he took out the Horrie Gorringe Medal as the competition’s Best and Fairest player that season.

After three years at the helm, Bolton joined the Tasmanian Devils as an assistant under Mathew Armstrong in 2006. Bolton had been a formation player with the Devils from 2001-02, and when Armstrong resigned late in the season, Bolton was appointed as caretaker, guiding the side to three wins from their last six games to only just miss the finals. After losing out on the senior job in 2007 Bolton returned to North Hobart, however it was then that the chronic hamstring injury that would spell the end of his playing career began to plague him, and he retired at the end of 2008, a year in which he had coached his old side Clarence.

At the end of that season Bolton was head hunted by Hawthorn for the dual role to coach the club’s VFL affiliate, Box Hill and as Hawthorn Development Coach. Bolton’s two seasons in charge of the Hawks both resulted in finals appearances, and on the back of these results he was appointed an assistant under Alastair Clarkson. Over the following five years Bolton’s reputation as one of the finest readers of the game grew, and when Clarkson was forced to stand aside through illness in mid-2014 it was Bolton who was chosen as his interim replacement, coaching the Hawks to five straight wins from his five games in charge. Hawthorn’s prolonged success during this period meant that the club’s assistant coaches were highly sought after – none more so than Bolton –  and in late 2015 Bolton was named senior coach of Carlton, only the second man the Blues had ever appointed to the role to have never played VFL/AFL football. He could not have had a more promising start, guiding the Blues to four consecutive wins from Rounds 5-8 in 2016 – the first time the Blues had won four straight matches since 2011 – confirming in the process his place on the list of fine AFL coaches to have come out of Tasmania.