The New South Wales Rugby League wishes to acknowledge former Great Britain and Balmain great David Bolton, who has passed away after a long illness.
One of the elite players to have won a premiership in both Australia and Great Britain, Bolton made his debut with his local club, Wigan, in 1954 and within a few years had established himself as one of the game’s rising stars. Bolton went on to play 300 matches for the famous Cherry and Whites and helped the club to success in the Lancashire Cup and the Challenge Cup as well as winning the Championship in a period of great achievement.
He made his Test debut against France in 1957 and went on to make 23 Test appearances, highlighted by two successful tours Down Under in 1958 and 1962, when the British defied Australia and won the Ashes. He also faced the Kangaroos during their 1959 and 1963 campaigns, with his last international appearance coming in the Third Test of the 1963 series.
Bolton was lured to Balmain in 1965 and his guile and experience helped take The Tigers to the 1966 Grand Final. Three years later he was a central figure as Balmain upset predictions to defeat the star-studded South Sydney team 11-2 in one of the greatest Grand Final upsets of all time. Bolton’s game management that day, as much as his two field goals, was a big reason for the Tigers’ famous victory.
He retired as a player the following year but remained involved with the game as a commentator and writer, as well as having two years as coach of Parramatta in 1973-74. Bolton enjoyed universal respect in the game and will be much missed by his former team mates and anyone who saw this wonderful player in action.