Former Swans champ happily joins the GWS bandwagon
IT'S out with the red and white and in with the orange and charcoal in Sydney.
Even for an old Swan in Jude Bolton.
The two-time premiership player has backed the Greater Western Sydney Giants to spring a fourth straight surprise by upstaging Richmond in today's AFL grand final.
Having retired at the end of the 2013 season after 325 games for Sydney, Bolton has happily jumped on the Giants' bandwagon all the way back to the MCG, where he will be part of Channel 7's coverage.
"It's a chance to witness history, potentially," he said.
"They face a monumental task of taking on Richmond.
"They (the Tigers) are raging hot favourites for a reason - they play terrific footy, team-brand footy.
"But there is something about going into a grand final as underdog, where you've just got nothing to lose.
"They've stood up in that cauldron atmosphere last week against Collingwood (in the preliminary final).
"They've tripped up in a couple of prelim finals before (2016, 2017). They've had those scars. To be able to overcome that it'll give them an enormous amount of confidence."
While the Swans have always been renowned for their "Bloods culture", their cross-town rivals have been winning respect for their togetherness, and fighting qualities.
"On the back of Stephen Coniglio re-signing, they are really building a strong culture that players want to be apart of," Bolton said.
"You see this really close group. They've been injury riddled, not only this but the last couple of years.
"It comes down to that group that steps on to the field, trusting and knowing it doesn't matter who's out there, we're just going to commit to working as hard as we can together.
"There is something about bunkering down in front of a parochial opposition crowd, and thriving off that."
Bolton said the coaching staff, headed by Leon Cameron and assistants Lenny Hayes and Amon Buchanan, among others, should take a lot of the credit for the progress made by the club since it entered the competition in 2012.
"They've got a great bunch of guys who have brought this team together," he said.
As well as tipping a GWS flag, Bolton thinks divisive midfielder/forward Toby Greene, who returns from suspension, will get the Norm Smith Medal.
"I do like guys who take it upon themselves and stand up in big moments," he said.
"I was there at the Gabba when the crowd just booed him incessantly. He just straps the team on his back and says come with me. You have nothing but admiration for that."
Richmond, coming off a win over Geelong, will play first-gamer Marlion Pickett - a mid-season rookie draft pick from the WAFL.
"It's a big roll of the dice but he comes in with great form - he obviously played well in the VFL," Bolton said.
"What a story. Halfway through the season he's playing WAFL. Suddenly he's lining up in an AFL grand final. You can imagine the nerves."