• Description

Michael Bolt played for the Illawarra Steelers from their Maiden year in 1982 through to 1990.  A one club man and holds the record for the most consecutive matches for the club, 187 grade matches.  Michael was also the Steelers player of the year twice, 1983 and 1987

Heroes of Yesterday, Interview 17 - 08 September 2016 - Michael Bolt

Where did you grow up?

Wollongong, family down here, Muwwimba. 

What was your first football experience?

St Teresa, as a 6-7 year old, spent a lot of time Picking flowers apparently

As a child what was your most memorable experience of Rugby League ?

TV wasn't about much then, maybe I watched one or two games

1982 Steelers moments?

I was Captain of the Third Grade side and was the in the first Steelers side to run out.  I was on a New Jersey exchange as an accountant.  We used to train 5 nights a weeks.

My first two games were in Third grade and then I got a Reverse Grade promotion.  However I was  bumped up to first grade during this game and I ended up winning the man of the match award and that was the first win to the Steelers.  I was then dropped.  I got my chance because Barry Jensen was injured.

The atmosphere was crazy, everyone was loving it.  The Steelers were everyone's second side. 

Did you collect footy cards as a kid ?

They weren't a big part of it then.  I was a Balmain supporter and I met Noel Maybury one day. 

Who were your footballing heroes as a kid ?

Balmain players in general

Do you remember your first game in first grade, and what were the highlights and lowlights?

Ken Stewart was the opposition hooker for Souths, Muzza was the half, Mick Carberry and David Boyle were also in the Rabbitohs side.  That night was pretty big, third game in and we beat Souths, I can't remember where we went but it was a big night.  In those days you were lucky to get your shorts and socks at the end of the season.

What was your highlight of playing First Grade football?

Getting that record of the most consecutive matches was a great achievement.  There were only three games that I didn't play the 80 minutes, and that was because I was coming off injured.  Only game I missed in 1982 was the last game due to a law exam.  There was no interchange back then.  I was travelling 100km plus a week to training and back home.  The Dunlop KC26ers shoes were the ants pants, before that you were training in dunlop volleys

Who was your most respected rival?

Max Krilich, Steve Edge.  You used to get belted in the scrums as a new kid.  Ben Elias came along and they changed the rules. 

What was the best team you played against?

Parramatta 1982-86.  Canterbury  late 80s and then Brisbane

When did you know it was time to give the game away?

Defining moment was when I was playing Reserve Grade against North Sydney and the opposing hooker was giving me the shits so I just hit him.  I was getting cranky.

What followed after football?

I was an accountant by profession, seventh hospitality venture, bars, night clubs and stuff.  Establish them from scratch.  Red Square, Wollongong, come in and meet me for Vodka, Tapas bar.

How has the game changed since your playing days?

Professionalism, when I finished the game was semi pro. Within 4-5 years it was the Super League battle.  Teams have to go to extremes to get the results.  Contesting the scrums doesn't happen today, two wingers and a fullback get into the scrum these days, it is a joke.  There was a bit of sorting out, crack in when I played, it was vicious but there was respect.  It toughened up, today there are too many show ponies and the media coverage is extreme.  When I played there was never any lipping on, you would just get a smack.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Lorenzos across the road, Italian food.

What are your hobbies?

Work, starting businesses and developing them.

Have you collected your own footy cards ?

Not really, few given to me over time, still in boxes. 

Did you keep a scrap book?

Mum did, kept all the jumpers framed, school boy ones.