Player Watch Shai Bolton - The Next Best Player In The Game

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Muddiemoose

Moderator
Aug 24, 2017
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Dunno about the best but his hurt factor is genuinely good even if he doesn’t improve from now he’s a bloody excellent player
I think skill wise he’s probably just about at his peak now his improvement will come from maturity, footy iq and leadership

Absolutely love him but sometimes acts like a bit of a Hollywood instead of doing the “team things” for me that is what separates great players from that top tier of players
 

David_Full

Club Legend
Nov 28, 2017
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He will always be a player that will lack a bit of polish on finish because his strengths of doing maneuvering sidestepping opponents.
clean pick ups off the ground under pressure your honestly going to see pretty quick throw on the boots.

He could improve his set shot goalkicking imo that can still be improved.
 

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Rich01

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Oct 5, 2004
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I really wish Zac Fisher (taken in a similar draft position to Bolton and a WA kid) could make a similar leap that Bolton has.
Zac Fisher before Shai Bolton is probably up there with David Cuningham over Josh Dunkley as the biggest drafting brain farts for the great SOS.

Could have been a great recruiter if he had have focused on more than just the first dozen players in each draft class.
 

Angak

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Mar 18, 2021
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At 22 yrs of age, Shai has everything to take the mantle as the best player in the game in the next 2-3 yrs.

He has a combination of pace, power, agility, inside/outside game and that knack of not getting tackled when he looks gone i.e. Ablett/Judd. He has an ability to burst out of stoppage, rarely goes to ground and has the best side step in the game.

As good as Petracca and The Bont are I think he will go past them in the next few years. Obviously, with Dusty nearing 30 I am expecting his performance to decline over the next 2-3years.

Wow I didn't think it would come this early. A lot of people in the media calling him the best player in the game already.

He dances on the footy field like no other player I have ever seen. Still think he has so much improvement in him. If he keeps his heads screwed on, sky is the limit.
 

Osho

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Jul 9, 2021
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Bolton is a freak. A fan magnet. Insane player.

His goal kicking is unreliable, that's all I can criticise him for at this stage. Maybe he could lay more tackles, at a stretch?

Nah, he can't be expected to do frickin EVERYTHING, at this tender age.
 

Spook

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At 22 yrs of age, Shai has everything to take the mantle as the best player in the game in the next 2-3 yrs.

He has a combination of pace, power, agility, inside/outside game and that knack of not getting tackled when he looks gone i.e. Ablett/Judd. He has an ability to burst out of stoppage, rarely goes to ground and has the best side step in the game.

As good as Petracca and The Bont are I think he will go past them in the next few years. Obviously, with Dusty nearing 30 I am expecting his performance to decline over the next 2-3years.
Good call, 14 months later, I totally agree with you. At the very least, Bolton is currently the best player to watch.
 

blaisee

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Wow I didn't think it would come this early. A lot of people in the media calling him the best player in the game already.

He dances on the footy field like no other player I have ever seen. Still think he has so much improvement in him. If he keeps his heads screwed on, sky is the limit.

Good on you Angak for fighting the good fight on this superstar

Good to see others are coming around on Shai
 

Some Idiot

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 17, 2009
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If he can contribute more to the midfield and not go missing for big stretches of games he can be the best.

Right now he’s similar in output to Chad Wingard early days but Wingard never took that next step to elevate himself into a true A-grade midfielder.
 

want2spoodge_pettifer

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May 14, 2007
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If he can contribute more to the midfield and not go missing for big stretches of games he can be the best.

Right now he’s similar in output to Chad Wingard early days but Wingard never took that next step to elevate himself into a true A-grade midfielder.

My brother in Christ, I cannot begin to express how bad this take is

Bolton is an A-grader right now. He could plateau at this level, play it for the next 5 years, and every Richmond supporter would be delighted and he will win multiple AA jackets. The fact he has scope is just a bonus
 

BF Tiger

Norm Smith Medallist
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Rd 2 v GWS - 7 votes
Rd 4 v WB - 10 votes
Rd 5 v Adel - 1 vote
Rd 7 v WCE - 9 votes
Rd 9 v Haw - 2 votes
Rd 17 v GCS - 9 votes
Rd 20 v Lions - 9 votes

Polled in 7 of 19 games.

Now you can work out how many other players have polled in 7+ games and rate him accordingly.

Does it?

You were asking how many games he has polled in, and how that would be a better rating of where he is at. Now you seem to be changing the parameters to how many outstanding games and how many good games and how many games in which in didn’t even poll. I didn’t even mention GOAT.

So let’s run with Bolton polling in seven games and rate him on that. Obviously there are a number of players who have polled in more than games (71+ votes confirms this), and there are a number of players who have polled in at least games (61+ votes confirms this) and there will be players with <60 votes who have polled in 7 or more games (like Bolton) but when you consider the 700+ players in the league then I think SB polling in 7 games is probably in the top 5%.

He also polled in seven games (of 20 played) last year, so 14 of his last 39 games he’s managed to catch the eye of the coaches whilst playing in a side that hasn’t set the world on fire.
Update:

Rd 21 v PA - 10 votes

Polled in 8 of 20 games this year
Polled in 15 of 40 games across 2021/22.
 

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blaisee

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If he can contribute more to the midfield and not go missing for big stretches of games he can be the best.

Right now he’s similar in output to Chad Wingard early days but Wingard never took that next step to elevate himself into a true A-grade midfielder.

You do realise that A grade mid/fwds are much more valuable and much rarer than A grade mids, or A grade fwds ?

He is 12th in the league in centre clearances and 15th in the league in total goals, and 3rd in the league in total score involvements.
 

Rioli2Rioli

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Nov 23, 2015
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Let's see if he can beat Stengle for that one small forward AA spot left after Cameron, first. Just for this year.

Won't be looking good if he can't drag them into finals compared to a bloke in a team on top of the ladder.
They have the same amount of goals from the same amount of games with bolton having 17 extra behinds

Bolton also has more disposals and better DE% and offering midfield potential

Bolton is also considered 1 of the best players in the game , Dont think its a choice of 1 or the other with Bolton should be considered an automatic selection
 

Noidnadroj

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Dec 8, 2020
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Neale has 65 centre clearances, Libba has 54, Cripps has 58, Oliver has 55 and Bolton has 49.

Here are their percentages of centre clearances they get based on CBA’s:

Neale: 12.8%
Bolton: 15.7%
Libba: 15.7%
Oliver: 12.9%
Cripps: 13.8%

I’ve not analysed any other players, but those guys are considered clearance specialists as pure midfielders. And Bolton is equal to Libba and well clear of the others in CC rates.

Then in % of possessions that result in scores, he
leads the league at around 45%. Next best is
Bont on 36%.

So he can take speccies, break tackles, kick on both feet, get midfield clearances, is lightning quick and is headed for about a 45-goal season with 100+ shots for goal. I definitely think he’s got the tools to be the next best player in the game… if he isn’t there already.

A freakishly gifted player where it’s hard to think of anyone else playing today who closely matches his skillset?

At 23yo if he adds accuracy and a little more consistency, which most players do around his age, then he could go up another couple of notches as a player.


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Some Idiot

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 17, 2009
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You do realise that A grade mid/fwds are much more valuable and much rarer than A grade mids, or A grade fwds ?

He is 12th in the league in centre clearances and 15th in the league in total goals, and 3rd in the league in total score involvements.
He's just not that good in the midfield yet, he went missing as a midfielder during some of the games when Prestia was injured and Cotchin struggling for form when Richmond needed someone to stand up in the middle. It's not much of a slight, I just expect more from a player of his obvious talent.
 

Noidnadroj

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He's just not that good in the midfield yet, he went missing as a midfielder during some of the games when Prestia was injured and Cotchin struggling for form when Richmond needed someone to stand up in the middle. It's not much of a slight, I just expect more from a player of his obvious talent.

Bolton has the highest percentage of centre clearances as a % of CBA’s in the AFL. His role is to go into centre bounce then go forward … and his centre bounce clearances are not generally scrappy hacked kicks forward.

So in centre bounce he’s the best in the competition. In forward 50 he’s the best in the competition. 45% of his possessions result in scores … 9% BETTER than the next best in the competition.

I’m happy to accept he’s not the best …. but his midfield role is only centre bounce, and he’s elite at that.


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Some Idiot

Norm Smith Medallist
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Bolton has the highest percentage of centre clearances as a % of CBA’s in the AFL. His role is to go into centre bounce then go forward … and his centre bounce clearances are not generally scrappy hacked kicks forward.

So in centre bounce he’s the best in the competition. In forward 50 he’s the best in the competition. 45% of his possessions result in scores … 9% BETTER than the next best in the competition.

I’m happy to accept he’s not the best …. but his midfield role is only centre bounce, and he’s elite at that.


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Stringer played a similar role for Essendon last year, and while the media did fawn over him a bit, I think it's generally accepted that he would be a better player if he could go harder for longer in the middle and contribute some two way running, I think Bolton is in a similar vein.
 

blaisee

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Stringer played a similar role for Essendon last year, and while the media did fawn over him a bit, I think it's generally accepted that he would be a better player if he could go harder for longer in the middle and contribute some two way running, I think Bolton is in a similar vein.

but if he went longer on the ball, he would kick less goals

Its a balance, its not that he can't, its just that he is more valuable up forward getting involved in scoring chains
 

Some Idiot

Norm Smith Medallist
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but if he went longer on the ball, he would kick less goals

Its a balance, its not that he can't, its just that he is more valuable up forward getting involved in scoring chains
I disagree, the evidence says that when Richmond has needed him to stand up in the midfield role when other players were injured and out of form, he underperformed in the midfield portion of his role. (with some exceptions)
 

Noidnadroj

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Dec 8, 2020
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I disagree, the evidence says that when Richmond has needed him to stand up in the midfield role when other players were injured and out of form, he underperformed in the midfield portion of his role. (with some exceptions)

I was wondering if I’d forgotten Bolton’s role earlier in the season. I checked his heat map from games earlier in the year, and he basically never touched the ball in the defensive third of
the ground in any game.

So he’s never been given any form of 2-way running, all encompassing midfield role all season. So you’ve perhaps assumed he had some more midfield responsibility but he never actually did.

He plays centre bounce and mid-fwd and that’s been his role all year…. like Dusty, he’s clearly told not to play on the defensive side of centre.


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