Bolton's glittering AFL career came to an end in Perth on Saturday night with Sydney losing the preliminary final against Fremantle by 25 points with the Swans unable to match the Dockers' intensity.
Sydney clearly was a tired group having to win over Carlton last week to make it into the preliminary final, and the absence of Adam Goodes, Rhyce Shaw, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Tom Mitchell, Kurt Tippett and Sam Reid hurt while Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan were clearly underdone.
However, Bolton left Subiaco's Patersons Stadium with his head held high with his career finishing up on a Swans' record 325 matches to go with his premierships in 2005 and 2012.
He was also humbled by the move by Fremantle through its captain Matthew Pavlich to stop their celebrations of making the club's first grand final to stand and applaud as Bolton was chaired from the field.
"I was rapt that they obviously showed me a little bit of respect at the end by lining up for me," Bolton said.
"They didn’t have to do that, but Pav came over to me and said he wanted to line up so I thank the Fremantle guys for doing that. I told Pav he didn’t have to do that especially when they should enjoy winning into a grand final, but they are a great club and well led by Pav so I really appreciated it."
Bolton always knew that his career was coming to an end once the 2013 season finished, but he dearly hoped the fourth grand final of his career on the MCG next Saturday would be the scene.
However, it wasn’t to be and Bolton can't do anything but give full credit to Fremantle for the way the suffocated the Swans on Saturday night.
"I was a bit emotional in the rooms because we were so close to the big one and you could taste it, but now you have to be one of the envious people who sit back in the stands and watch. To end it like that is disappointing, but we move on now," Bolton said.
"You know how special grand finals are and you just want to be part of the big day. The whole week is just a special week and I'm very envious to not be part of it, but I still always try to get down to Melbourne just to feel that bit of finals atmosphere.
"Fremantle were super in that first half around the contest and their hands around the stoppages were really quick. They were smashing us around the contest and then they set up so well defensively with players behind the ball, and they just control the ball from there.
"We lost our structures up forward and they were smashing us around the ball in terms uncontested and contested footy. They are a really well-drilled side, they put enormous pressure on all the way along the ground and we felt the full force of it.
"They showed the way they beat Geelong down at their home ground, and we know how hard it is down at Simonds Stadium, and it's just that disciplined effort. I know Rossy Lyon demands that of his team and I commend the Fremantle guys."
Throughout his 325-game, 15-year AFL career Bolton has been one of the most competitive warriors the game has seen so completing losing that competitiveness he got to put out each week won't be easy, but he has no doubt he got every last ounce that he could have from his body.
"I guess I'm going to miss the competitiveness and the contests. I'm going to have to find another competitive outlet or release somewhere, but I will miss the camaraderie with the boys and competing week in, week out," he said.
"I love the contests out there and giving the one-on-one efforts where you can really test yourself. People have told me that you wish you could play your career in reverse because you start to learn the game after a long time and appreciate it more, but by that time your body is just about shot.
"I have been trying to encourage our younger guys to get up into the coaching box to see the game from the sidelines so they can work out the game if they're not playing, because it really does help."
Coaching might seem like an obvious next step for the 33-year-old, but Bolton wouldn’t mind a bit of a freshener up away from the game first and has a couple of irons in the fire that will ensure he remains busy.
"I would never say never, but I probably will step away for a little bit," Bolton said.
"I enjoy the media and the analysis of the footy, and also I'm accredited as a player agent so I will look after a few of the boys in the league there."