It’s the old sports cliché that almost begins to sound trite, but in fact is none more pertinent when the pointy end of the season comes around and your club has premiership aspirations: “It’s a good problem to have.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green has used it already this year to describe his side’s multiple options at hooker and even fullback with Michael Morgan replacing injured custodian Lachlan Coote.
And with the emergence and resurgence of Ethan Lowe and Scott Bolton, he can now apply that to the forward stocks.
While the Cowboys’ B-team left a lot to be desired last week against Canberra, new names seem to be popping up to stake a claim in Paul Green’s 17-man squad each week, and this week it was Scott Bolton.
A veteran of seven years for the North Queensland club, he racked up 151 run metres and 26 tackles at lock on Saturday, in place of the suspended Tariq Sims.
The 27-year-old had his shot to stardom derailed with calf injuries in 2011 after being touted as a future State of Origin representative, and has since found himself in rotational reshuffles at club level after holding a permanent starting spot prior to 2011.
But always easily-pleased, the self-effacing ‘Bolts’ says whether he is starting and getting big minutes or otherwise, he just wants to do his job and be noticed for it.
“I’ll just take it game by game I suppose. Whether I’m off the bench or starting it doesn’t worry me too much as long as I get out there and do my job and get a few minutes to prove my worth and get the team forward when it needs me. However that pans out and whichever system Greeny wants to work with, I’ll be happy to play that role.
“It’s certainly been a great couple of weeks personally, with those big boys out for Origin and the resulting test in Canberra last week. I think that was great for me and I can just hopefully get used to playing a few more minutes again,” he said.
A recurring theme when chatting with Cowboys players this season has been the improved leadership qualities of fellow forward Matt Scott.
The other half of North Queensland’s ‘odd couple’, James Tamou recently said Scott has made a conscious effort to step up his leadership capacity and Bolton says it is clearly shown behind the scenes, and that Scott has had a particular motivational effect on him this season.
“(Scott) has given me a few tips along the way, and they are not so much about on the field, but more about being relied upon to do the job, especially when we’re a bit short on forwards.
“Before this year I’ve had a few errors in my game at crucial moments and that’s something we have definitely worked on and just staying switched on for the time I’m on the field.
“Matt’s got an unbelievable engine and that’s exactly what I’m looking for because I’m looking to get a few more minutes in the team. It’s pretty inspiring seeing a guy doing it like that especially days after Origin, he’s a bit of a maniac.
“We were up 20 odd points and the bloke just wanted to get back out there and I’m just thinking to myself, ‘he’s a machine’. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing for this club and hopefully he keeps doing it.”
The kudos is no doubt well received, with the Test representative lauding Bolton’s recent performances a little earlier in the post-match press conference.
“I thought Scotty Bolton and the guys around us did a great job. He has worked really hard for a couple of years now. I’ve kept a close eye on him coming through and he’s always been a talented kid and a good footballer,” he said.
“I think I’ve seen a change off the field for him and he’s definitely putting a lot more emphasis on his rugby league and training and he’s really wanting to cement his spot in the side for a couple of years now and I think he has finally done it.”