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Bolton's Blues 'never more determined'

JLT Team Selection | Hawthorn Carlton Media's Lucy Jamison brings you all the team selection news ahead of our second JLT clash in Tasmania against Hawthorn.

AHEAD of the 2018 premiership season, Blues coach Brendon Bolton has revealed his playing group have "never been more determined" to climb the AFL ladder.

Ahead of their final JLT Series game against Hawthorn on Saturday night, the Blues kick off their 2018 campaign on Thursday 22 March against reining premier Richmond at the MCG for the blockbuster season opener. 

“Our members need to know that I’ve never seen our group more determined and passionate and now we want to start the climb,” Bolton said. 

“For us, our plans are on track. We stuck to the plan of going to the draft for three years and we’ve done that. Now we have a young group after turning over a crazy amount of players.” 

The 38-year-old said his group would embrace the external increase in expectations in 2018, but said the Blues needed "stability" on field after 42 list changes over three years.  

“If expectations grow, that means the exciting youngsters we have are starting to perform. But we need stability this year. It’s taken three years to get the list to a level where we want,” Bolton said. 

“I’ve always said that pressure is a privilege so if that starts to grow (externally) in time then that’s a good thing but we can't put a ceiling on this exciting group. 

“For us this year, our players just simply need to play together and build that synergy as a group.” 

Bolton believed Blues’ supporters were buoyed by his side’s attacking flair during its victorious JLT Series hit-out against St Kilda last week.

“We don’t want to lose the defensive growth we’ve made but we’ve trained a lot of the offensive layers this pre-season,” Bolton told SEN on Friday morning.  

“I think our supporters witnessed some fast transition from the defensive 50 to the forward 50 last week and there were really good chains of clean ball movement.

“(We measure that) and a lot of it is about territory – where you hit the turnovers and how far you can take that ball with an unbroken chain. And we did show some growth in that area last week. 

“But there were quite a few areas we needed to tidy up as well. It's one little step in the right direction. I don’t think there’s a quick fix in that but that was always the plan going into year three of the program (to add that layer).” 

The Blues face Hawthorn in their final JLT Community Series hitout at UTAS Stadium on Saturday night.

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