It looked as though England had ended Bollinger's Test career three years ago, but the fiery fast bowler sent an emphatic message to Australian selectors on Thursday at Blacktown.
"I'm not dead," declared Bollinger, who claimed 6-34 in the Sheffield Shield opener against Tasmania.
Bollinger was brilliant in slow conditions on day two, with his reverse swing cutting through the Tasmanian line-up to leave the visitors in a precarious position at 9-195 at stumps.
NSW were bowled out for 288 in their first innings and are in the box seat with the wicket set to become increasingly difficult to bat on.
Bollinger has already had a conversation with Australian coach Darren Lehmann, who told the left-hander he likes his aggression and would come back on the radar with wickets to his name.
The 32-year-old certainly followed instructions on Thursday, on track to better his best first-class figures of 6-47.
Australia's fast bowling stocks have been plagued by injury ahead of the Ashes, leaving an opening alongside Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris for the first Test at the Gabba.
Selectors have shown in the past they like to include the variety of a left-armer in their arsenal, and Mitchell Starc's injury improves Bollinger's stocks even if Mitchell Johnson is the favourite to join the attack for Brisbane.
Bollinger's fitness has been criticised in the past, but the larrikin quick says he's in prime nick given the hectic Shield schedule confronting NSW over the coming weeks.
He hasn't played Test cricket since he struggled in Adelaide against England in 2010, but says he hasn't given up hope of a recall.
"It would be nice to get a call up. It would be an honour, but let's finish this game and see how I go in the next game," he said.
"I am not dead. I feel pretty good and the way I went today, who knows? I have just got to keep doing my best and see what happens.
"(Lehmann) said that good old cliche that batters get runs and bowlers get wickets and the rest looks after itself and that's what I am trying to do."
Bollinger claimed Tigers opener Jordan Silk before tearing through the middle order, knocking over Jonathan Wells, Ben Dunk, Tim Paine before also getting stuck into the tail.
The Tigers were boosted by a 77-run second wicket partnership between Alex Doolan (56) and Ed Cowan (24), and were 4-160 before NSW hit-back, with a little bit of help from the Tasmanians themselves.
No.5 batsman Dunk suffered the unusual embarrassment of being given out hit wicket, slipping and stepping back on his middle-stump after he was stood-up by a quick delivery at the body by Bollinger.
Bollinger went for just 1.78 runs from 19 overs with seven maidens.
Josh Hazlewood, Steve O'Keefe and Trent Copeland also took a wicket each for the Blues, after Tasmanian rookie Sam Rainman had earlier wrapped up the NSW tail to finish with a six-wicket haul in just his second Shield match.
Meanwhile, Ahmed has given the Australian selectors a timely reminder of their spinning options for the Ashes series after taking 6-68 to collapse Western Australia's innings against Victoria.
WA were cruising at 3-218 when John Rogers fell five short of a maiden first-class century, sparking a momentous collapse to be 9-240 and all out for 270, 42 short of Victoria's opening tally of 312.
The legspinner looked lively but expensive at 1-51 before dispensing with the WA tail in ruthless fashion.
After catching Marcus North leg before with the last ball before lunch, Ahmed took the scalps of Whiteman (1), Cartwright (5), Agar (1), Rimmington (11) and Hogan (13).
"It all depends on the rhythm. When you're feeling good... it doesn't matter who you're playing against or what kind of track it is," Ahmed said.
Ahmed said he felt confident he could rip through any team when he was in sync.
"When you're feeling good ... it doesn't matter who you're playing against or what kind of track it is," he said.
He admitted to being frustrated by his expensive start but kept positive - to rich reward.
Ahmed had four wickets in as many overs and had Michael Hogan caught behind, before umpire Geoff Joshua had appeared to change his mind on advice from square leg umpire Gerard Abood.
The Victorians, already half-way to the dressing rooms, had to be called back after the umpire's finger that had pointed to the sky beckoned them back to play on.
The Warriors put on an extra 22 runs before Ahmed got his man, Hogan skying one to John Hastings and departing to cries of "22 stolen runs" from the small but gobsmacked crowd.
Joshua later admitted he simply changed his mind.
Rogers' 95 was the highlight of a decent top-order showing from the Warriors, with supporting stands of 45 from Marcus North and 42 from Test hopeful Shaun Marsh.
Rogers fell for his highest first-class score after poking at a good length delivery from Hastings to point where Peter Handscomb dived neatly to take the catch.
Marsh looked in sharp form, knocking eight boundaries before edging Scott Boland to Rob Quiney at first slip.
The catch was sweet relief to Quiney who had dropped chances of varying difficulty either side of lunch, putting down Rogers at first slip and then a tough chance to claim Marsh at bat-pad.
Victoria's frontline pacemen all took one wicket, with Test bowler Peter Siddle completing just 11 overs.
He looked lively and confrontational in an early six over spell which yielded the scalp of Cameron Bancroft and landed blows on the pads of both North and Rogers.
Returned to the crease, Victoria wasted no time extending their lead, finishing at 0-33.
Test opener Chris Rogers added to his first innings 36 to be 19 not out at stumps.
And, Queensland's Usman Khawaja botched the first act in his Ashes auditions when falling cheaply against South Australia in Adelaide.
In reply to SA's 387 all out, the Bulls crawled to 3-143 at stumps on Thursday's second day.
Khawaja, hoping to press his claims for a Test recall in front of national coach Darren Lehmann, made a stuttering eight from 43 balls.
The lefthander, who struggled to find gaps in the field during his knock, shuffled back and across his crease to a Johan Botha spinner and was trapped lbw.
Khawaja was openly disappointed at the dismissal, hovering at his crease before trudging off. As he departed, he appeared to exchange words with the jubilant South Australians.
The 26-year-old's failure comes as he battles with a host of other batsmen for what appears one vacancy in the Australian Test team for the looming series against England.
Khawaja was dropped from the Test side after managing only 114 runs at an average of 19 in Australia's failed away Ashes campaign in July-August.
His latest flop came as Queensland made a grinding response to the Redbacks' first innings.
The visitors faced 58 overs for their runs, with patient opener Nathan Reardon making an unbeaten 55 from 155 balls.
SA coach Darren Berry was reluctant to criticise the Bulls' lack of scoring intent.
"I'm not going to drawn on how other teams play because I'm focusing on how South Australia play," he said.
"Maybe that is indicative of a pretty slow, straight wicket ... (but) it's a pretty good batting wicket."
Botha claimed all the wickets, finishing with 3-35 from 20 overs. He dismissed Greg Moller (26), Khawaja and Joe Burns (51).
Earlier, the Redbacks' first innings was curtailed by Queensland paceman Luke Feldman, who claimed five wickets.
SA resumed at 4-294 but lost momentum as Feldman finished with 5-101 from 30 overs and Test paceman Ryan Harris claimed 3-42 from 23 overs.
Tom Cooper's sterling knock ended on 171 while Botha made 61, both falling to Feldman.
"I was a bit disappointed with our first session today, I thought we lacked intent," Berry said.
"We were a little bit pedestrian early ... in saying that, at stumps, I'd rather be in our camp than theirs."