State coach denies Bolton non-selection is personal
State squad coach Cam Shepherd says Jye Bolton has been omitted from the state side to give opportunities to younger players.
The 31-year-old Bolton, who has a glittering individual trophy cabinet including the 2016 Sandover Medal, was not selected in the 34-player squad for this Friday’s clash against South Australia.
Shepherd told Sports Breakfast Bolton had still been performing strongly in the WAFL.
“It’s certainly not personal in any way,” Shepherd said.
“At the time (the squad was picked) Jye was playing half-back, and we thought we had some really good bouncy half-back flankers including Teia Miles and Toby McQuilkin and Cameron Eardley.
“We’ve got some great midfielders in the squad as well whom we want to give some real opportunities to put their brand forward in state football like Milan Murdock and Tom Blechynden.
“Jye’s been a wonderful warrior for the West Australian Football League and he’s built a wonderful career, but we’re looking at some younger players playing those positions.”
The squad will be announced tonight, with Shepherd saying some calls were still yet to be made on players carrying injuries.
“We are waiting on Bailey Rogers and there’s a question mark over one or two other players,” he said.
“We’re waiting on some scans that occurred last night and then we’ll be able to make a good decision come lunchtime today.
“A bit disappointing, Taj Schofield had an ankle injury over the weekend and Joel Western had a bit of a shoulder, so they won’t be playing. It would’ve been good to give them a bit of a go.”
A dominant South Australia won the last state game in Adelaide in 2021 by 53 points, with Shepherd saying this year’s side would try to maximise the WAFL’s strengths.
“We’ve looked at where the players are playing the best footy in the positions for their clubs,” he said.
“We’re not going to be, and we’ve never been, I think, a state that has really big bulking bodies that are physical.
“We’re looking to use our skill and our speed to hopefully counter-act the South Australians.”
Shepherd confirmed East Fremantle key defender Matthew Jupp would lead the side with Swan Districts’ Jesse Turner as vice-captain. The game bounces down at 1:30 pm WA time on Friday as a curtain-raiser to the AFL game between Port Adelaide and Melbourne.