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Bolton still wants to be Cowboys leader

On paper, Scott Bolton may no longer be the leader of the North Queensland pack.

But the veteran prop believes his role will not be changing much this year despite dramatically dropping down the Cowboys pecking order in the off-season.

Bolton, 30, was inspirational in 2017, stepping up to start in the front row in the absence of injured co-captain Matt Scott (knee).

He took over the injury ravaged Cowboys’ captaincy in round 15, leading them to an unlikely NRL grand final berth.

But he will find it hard to crack the starting side this year after Test prop Scott’s return and the arrival of ex-Melbourne forward and Kangaroos World Cup find Jordan McLean.

Bolton said he wouldn’t be changing his mindset even if he was relegated to the bench.

“I’ll still play the same role I did last year. If I feel I need to say something then I will,” he said.

“I’ve had the same mindset over the years whether I was coming off the bench or starting.

“Rugby league’s a funny sport. Injuries can happen.

“It’s a classic example last year where before I knew it I was one of the senior players in the squad.”

Bolton defied a sternum injury to average a career-best 123m and 28 tackles a match last season, starting in all 28 of North Queensland’s games.

North Queensland’s first pre-season trial is against Wests Tigers in Cairns on February 17.

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