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'A big part of our legacy': Green pays tribute to departing Bolton

North Queensland coach Paul Green was full of praise for Scott Bolton after the Cowboys veteran revealed he would depart the club at the end of the season.

Bolton debuted with the Cowboys in 2007 and has spent his entire career with the club, winning a premiership in 2015.

Barring injury, the 32-year-old Innisfail product and Cowboys life member will play his final game against the Storm in Melbourne in Round 25.

Green said Bolton was one of a kind.

“He’s one of those no-nonsense sort of blokes, he goes about his business, doesn't like too much fuss made of him," Green said.

"He’s one of nine life members, he played his 200th game in 2017, he’s played 244 games for the club, played in two grand finals and will always be a premiership player too.

“He came here out of school, so he's been a fantastic contributor over the years, and a big part of the legacy the club has left so far is down to guys like him."

Bolton has been named to start against the Bulldogs on Thursday night in his final appearance on home soil.

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As a mark of respect for teammate Matt Scott, who is recovering from a minor stroke in a Brisbane hospital, Bolton will wear the No.16 jersey rather than No.8.

“For the contribution Matt Scott's made to the club over the years and given it's our last ever game here at 1300 Smiles Stadium, we've retired the number eight jersey, which Matt has made famous over the years," Green said.

"Given the situation he’s in at the moment, ideally we would’ve liked to have seen him out there playing, but that can't happen.”

Emotions will be running high on Thursday and Green is counting on his team to cherish the moment as they play their final game at 1300 Smiles Stadium.

“The players just need to realise that it's a privilege to play in a game like this," he said.

"Despite the disappointing season we've had so far this year, it'll be a highlight and it’ll be a game that everyone will look back on once they retire and say ‘I played in the last ever game here at 1300 Smiles’.

“I remember a game we played here against the Broncos in ‘99. They got off to a real good start, it was a huge crowd here and we had them on the ropes. Benny Walker kicked a goal from the sideline to draw it up.”

Tom Opacic has been cleared to play after he was taken from the field for an HIA in last week’s win over the Panthers. Green said he’s tracking well.

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“If he gets through training tomorrow with no symptoms, which we expect him to do, he'll be right," he said.

Jason Taumalolo pulled up well after last week's win over the Panthers and has been given the green light to start against the Bulldogs.

Green said the foot complaint which sidelined him for a couple of weeks needs to be managed.

“We know what we're dealing with there so it's just a case of making sure he does enough to get ready to play, but without stirring it up too much either," he said.

"He was pretty good for us last week and he is pretty tough in the head when it comes to injuries.”

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Jake Clifford has been named on an extended bench, although Green doesn’t expect him to be recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in the lead up to last week’s game.

“Probably not, but again you want to give him up to game day," he said.

"He hasn't really run too much so far this week given the shorter turnaround.”

The Cowboys first game in 1995 was against the Bulldogs and it's probably fitting they host their final game at 1300 Smiles Stadium against the Dogs.


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