Ahead of their date with the Dogs, the Blues watched the dying minutes of the Gold Coast loss, forensically reviewing what went wrong.
Bolton hailed his players for the way they handled a crushing defeat.
“We’ve been building toward this,” Bolton said.
“We’ve been in games, being really really close to getting a result in the last four weeks, and internally we’ve understood that. Last week was hard to swallow, because until the last 10 seconds, we had the game. I probably just want to comment on the resolve of the playing group, because easily you could lose morale and sink, but they were out training, we had to slow them down from doing their extras. It was a mature response, and they got the response, but the same resolve after disappointment last week needs to be shown this week.
“We’ve learnt the hard way, and the long way, but that always helps. It’s nourishment for our whole club, not just our players.”
Bolton had himself been under enormous external pressure following the Gold Coast game, and acknowledged that he had done things tough after the loss.
“I’m human. We had the game won until the last 10 minutes, so incredibly tough, but I and the playing group during the week, just deal with the reality. You can get caught up in the emotion,” he said.
Bolton added that he would savour the win with his family on Sunday night.
“I’ve got two little toddlers, we had the Easter egg hunt this morning, they were so excited at 6:30. I just want to go home and be a dad and give them a cuddle over Easter. You get a little feelgood over a win, but I’ve got to go and do a job again on Monday.”
However he downplayed the significance of the 100 point milestone.
“Kicking 100 points, we’re happy with, but I only care that we’re in front in the end. [100 points is] a headline.”
Petrevski-Seton finished with 35 disposals, while McKay kicked 4.3 with 11 marks, five of which were contested.
Bolton suggested that the performances of the early draft selections were a reward for the club’s measured approach since the end of 2015, with the investment in Petrevski-Seton bearing fruit in his third season, and McKay dominating after being overlooked for an extended period last year.
“We made decisions that were right for the long term. We just made decisions that were in the long term interest of the Carlton footy club,” he said.
Bolton also said that he thought defender Liam Jones, who has started the season in excellent form, was finished before shifting to defence two years ago. “When the move was made down back, I thought his career was over.”
Charlie Curnow was a late withdrawal with knee soreness and will be assessed ahead of the game against the Hawks.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge lamented the continuation of the inaccuracy that has plagued his side since the 2016 premiership.
“It’s a continual frustration. But we had too many long-range shots that fell short as well,” Beveridge said.
“It’s not like we don’t train it but making sure that it’s under the intensity and environment that it should be is something that we’re going to continue to look at.”
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.