Bolton's record run spoiled, but Parker makes presence felt


SYDNEY are bracing for life without Jude Bolton this week, but in Luke Parker they appear to have a younger version ready to take the midfielder's place against Fremantle at the SCG on Sunday.

SYDNEY are bracing for life without Jude Bolton this week, but in Luke Parker they appear to have a younger version ready to take the midfielder's place against Fremantle at the SCG on Sunday.


Scans this morning will reveal the extent of damage Bolton did to his knee during the warm-up before Saturday night's romp against Gold Coast, although the veteran yesterday was still hopeful he will be fit to face the Dockers.

''It was just a bit of a pinch right on the inside of the knee,'' Bolton said on Channel Seven. ''I'm going to have a scan tomorrow morning and then hopefully be right for this week.'' However, the Swans are concerned the injury could be more sinister, given Bolton's high pain threshold.

The 31-year-old had played 145 consecutive games and had not missed a premiership match since round 13, 2005, before his last-minute scratching at the weekend. His streak was the longest of any active player entering the weekend round, after Port Adelaide's Kane Cornes (174) and former Swan Darren Jolly (142) had runs ended by injury earlier this year.

''It's got to be a reasonably sore knee for Jude to miss a game of footy,'' Sydney coach John Longmire said yesterday. ''I'm just hopeful the scans don't show much and he's able to train later in the week.''

The Swans will face a selection headache if Bolton is passed fit, as his replacement, Parker, turned in a stellar performance despite learning just 20 minutes before the game that he would be playing.

The 18-year-old Victorian, secured with pick No.40 in last year's draft, collected 26 disposals and kicked two goals in just his fifth game in the AFL.

''It would have been tough for him with no preparation, essentially,'' Longmire said. ''It shows you that he's a pretty mentally strong kid, he was able to switch on quickly and go out and do a job for us and we were rapt with how he went.''

Adam Goodes said Parker, who has been earmarked to fill Bolton's role, showed he had a bright future as an inside midfielder.

''It just showed he's prepared to play footy on whatever terms, whether it's getting a call-up two minutes before the game or when he gets picked in a team to play week in week out,'' Goodes said. ''That's what you want from young fellas: just want to play footy and play it well.''

Sunday's match is crucial to both sides' hopes of prospering in September. Just two points separate Sydney from the Dockers, who are sixth and seventh respectively, and victory could be the difference between the Swans hosting an elimination final or possibly having to travel to the other side of the country to fight for their chances.

''We haven't even looked that far ahead,'' Longmire said. ''We don't have the luxury to do that, we've just got to make sure we keep the pressure on and win games of footy.''

Goodes said the match would be a great opportunity for the Swans to measure themselves against another finals contender.

''All we know is we've got an opportunity to put four points on a team that's in a very similar position to us in the eight,'' he said.

''It also gives us an opportunity to pick up points on teams and move a bit up [the ladder].''

Goodes said the Swans, renowned for their uncompromising style of play, would be looking to serve it up to the Dockers back on their home ground.

The Swans have won nine of their past 10 clashes with the Dockers at the venue, although the visitors were triumphant last time they played at the SCG, last year.

''They've got some fantastic outside midfielders that can really use the ball well and break the lines,'' Goodes said. ''And hopefully, [with] the confines of the SCG, we can really put the pressure on them and get in their face.''


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