Over the course of his career, Craig Bolton established himself as one of the AFL’s standout defenders. He was awarded a place in the 2006 All-Australian team on the half-back flank position, and again in the 2009 team at his preferred position of centre-half back.
Craig first played football with the Weston Creek Wildcats before progressing through the strong Marist AFL program. While still at school he played with the Eastlake Football Club, as well as the NSW/ ACT U/18s team where he came under the notice of AFL recruiters.
Craig was drafted by Brisbane with the 33rd pick in the 1998 AFL draft. He was on the Lions’ list from 1999 until 2002, making his debut against Carlton in Round 1 of the 2000 season.
Unable to gain a regular place in the powerful Brisbane team of the time Craig departed the club at the end of the 2002 season after playing 29 games.
Craig was picked up by Sydney in the 2003 pre-season draft and was immediately given a starting role in the team.
Quickly cementing his place in the side’s defence, Craig played a total of 170 games for the Swans, missing only one game in his seven years with the Swans.
In Craig’s first three years at the club the Swan’s made the preliminary finals in 2003, semi-finals in 2004 and the grand final in 2005. As a central pillar in defence, Craig played in the Swans drought-breaking 2005 grand final victory over West Coast, earning his first premiership medal.
In 2007, Craig finished third in the Swans Best and Fairest Award, and at the beginning of the 2008 season, he was named Swans’ co-captain. He remained captain until 2010, and later that year represented the Dream Team in the Hall of Fame exhibition match at the MCG.
After a season decimated by injury in 2010 and another serious injury which ruined his 2011 campaign, and after 199 games Craig announced his retirement from the AFL in 2011.
Born: 31 May 1980