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

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BennyGan

Club Legend
Jan 15, 2019
1,463
2,278
AFL Club
Geelong
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.
I dont think he will ever pass Bont. Especially cause of the size advantage he has. Shai is a great player to watch but imo he's never gonna be the best player in the comp. Will be interesting to see how he goes the next couple of years when teams start to give him more attention and send tags to him.
 

Shane Heard

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 11, 2018
5,380
9,859
AFL Club
Essendon
All of ACDC were diminutive, possibly one of the bass players wasn't.

According to a quick web search:
Bon 1.73
Angus 1.57
Malcom 1.6
Rudd 1.68.
And all extremely lean.

There is a funny youtube upload out there of a fan being brushed off by an older Rudd, and the fan calling out "you effen midget!"
yep..none of them were Gene Simmons type giants lol
 

Angak

Rookie
Mar 18, 2021
30
97
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Exactly. Before he was 22 Bont had won a premiership and a best and fairest in the same year, two AAs, another BnF, 5x22under22 selection and 3x as captain. Oliver’s accomplishments are similar. Shai Bolton has been really good this year but I could make countless players over the last 5-10 years who have been better at 22 than he is. Wouldn’t be top 35 in the game right now.
Don't get me wrong I love The Bont. At 22 the Bont has easily a better resume than Shai. I'm projecting 2-3 years in advance, and Shai has the explosiveness to change games like very few before him. Oliver on the other hand unfortunately is limited athletically, and his impact per possession is no where near the other two.
 

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hutchy31

Premiership Player
May 25, 2014
4,889
6,150
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Actually the worst since umpiring stats were created.

last 2 games we've done well, it feels very strange
Richmond fans would know better then me, but wouldn’t you ascribe some of that to the change in game style in recent weeks? Looks like more kick/mark/possession building than handball/territory/surge, or at least more selective with the latter.

With that could come some changes in fk differential I’d imagine.
 

conrad_437

Club Legend
Jun 26, 2016
1,694
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Melbourne
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Western Bulldogs
Don't get me wrong I love The Bont. At 22 the Bont has easily a better resume than Shai. I'm projecting 2-3 years in advance, and Shai has the explosiveness to change games like very few before him. Oliver on the other hand unfortunately is limited athletically, and his impact per possession is no where near the other two.
Yeah, not a chance. Bolton doesn’t have the inside game of the other two, his kicking is only slightly above average and his tackling is limited because of his size. Of course his speed is ridiculous and agility cannot be questioned, but he will be limited as a player if these things don’t improve. Right now he’s a gun, but the only reason he’s being spoken about in this light is because of how flashy his play is.

Gerard and Robbo are clueless suggesting he’s the best 22 year old the game has seen. There are countless that were better at 22 than Shai.
 

FS25

Debutant
Apr 25, 2010
135
273
Melbourne
AFL Club
Melbourne
Don't get me wrong I love The Bont. At 22 the Bont has easily a better resume than Shai. I'm projecting 2-3 years in advance, and Shai has the explosiveness to change games like very few before him. Oliver on the other hand unfortunately is limited athletically, and his impact per possession is no where near the other two.
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Coach_Required

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 19, 2008
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Richmond
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Old M8

Club Legend
Feb 2, 2009
1,982
5,234
AFL Club
Richmond
Yeah, not a chance. Bolton doesn’t have the inside game of the other two,.
I disagree Bolton doesn’t have the inside game of Oliver & Bont. He’s in the ballpark.

Bolton is our best centre clearance mid this year.

Contested possessions averages in 2021:

Bolton: 9.6
Bont: 10.5
Oliver: 17.7

Contested possession % per average disposal

Bolton: 44%
Bont: 39%
Oliver: 56%

Centre clearances

Bolton: 4.4
Bont: 2.2
Oliver: 3.1
 

Rich01

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 5, 2004
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Was a decent draft year.
Top three are absolute standouts.

Picks 4-6 are the misses for mine in the top ten. Ainsworth, Setterfield, SPS.

Some good players picked 11-20 as well. Galluci probably the only real miss.

Bolton the gold in the late 20’s where there are some picked just before him that will go on to have a decent career.
 

Guardian Hawk

Premiership Player
Oct 16, 2003
3,359
4,567
Murrumbeena
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Of all the players compared to Cyril Rioli on this board over the years, I feel Bolton is the only one who may end up having a comparable career.

They're certainly not exactly the same - Rioli was far better defensively but Bolton is shaping to do more through the middle, etc.

Otherwise though, there are similarities in that both are very agile and athletically gifted, both are very damaging per possession, both can take a speccy and kick a miraculous goal, both are elite in traffic, etc.

Rioli ended up with 4 flags, 2 AA's and a Norm Smith by his retirement at 27.

I think Bolton could end up with a similar CV.

Rioli was never considered the best player in the comp but was perhaps the best in his role. I think the same is likely to be true for Bolton.
 

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Ron The Bear

Up yer arse, AFL
Jul 4, 2006
34,734
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Richmond
People talk about lightness of weight with young indigenous players like they’ve never seen a 23 year old playing before.

I saw Bolton up close on Saturday from the fence in the Tiger end warm up and during play when he was near my side of the ground.

He’s no whippet. Looks strong in the legs and lean up top.

Micheal Long was more skinny at the same age and he never had a problem because no one could catch him.

Bolton is at a prime age where maximum flexibility and strength allows him to dodge and weave like a hare, jump like a kangaroo and he can run like a greyhound all day without getting tired.

You only have to watch Tiwi Island footage of players up north to see what a real light weight indigenous looks like.
most of those guys are lucky to be over 70 kg.
I dunno, there's just a hint of this about him.

 

queensberryrules

Club Legend
Aug 16, 2019
2,601
3,643
AFL Club
Collingwood
Bolton has been very good for some time now, the rest of the footy world is just catching up.

Will become the best player in the comp? Geewizz, let the lad enjoy himself. Will he become a matthews, a judd, an ablett, a buddy, a carey? Bloody hell, it's a mad expectation worthy of my wife.

Bloody Ralph Carr - clubs must hate the bloke, and players, well, they probably think he's alright.
 

Dr Tigris

Premium Platinum
Aug 19, 2009
8,083
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Canberra
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Richmond
Richmond fans would know better then me, but wouldn’t you ascribe some of that to the change in game style in recent weeks? Looks like more kick/mark/possession building than handball/territory/surge, or at least more selective with the latter.

With that could come some changes in fk differential I’d imagine.
By eye we actually got some free kicks we usually don't. Although our style has morphed a bit it doesn;t account for the frees. We traditionally get f all free kicks. Got a few the last couple of weeks. reckon this weekend it will revert to history against the WEagles. :cool:

On the weekend I couldn't understand when free kicks were given and when not. So many holding the ball for both teams and tackled too high not given. The new rules SHocking has introduced and the new interpretations must have screwed the umps up. The players have learnt that basic thigs like tackling high and being able to hold on for 720 degree spins are OK, so they do it. Gets very strange when I see RCD getting a free for a high tackle and I'm confused. I think what about the other 30 times players have been tackled high.

At least we're getting these weird free kicks now. Anyway, it's a strange time in the AFL now with the rule interpretations.
 

Dr Tigris

Premium Platinum
Aug 19, 2009
8,083
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Canberra
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Richmond
On Bolton as best in the comp. It's possible. he has mad ability.

But I reckon your big bodied core mids and/or super star KPFs will continue to hold that spot.

I'm pretty happy with him in any case.
 

Gazza Greatness

Team Captain
Oct 11, 2008
373
472
Werribee
AFL Club
Geelong
Shai is a absolute joy to watch, even against my beloved Cats, you cannot help but like him as he's got so much natural talent and flare in all facets of the game, a 'rare talent'..... with the skies the limit for Shai as we have already witnessed with one of the all time great marks against my bewildered and humbled pussy-cats, WHAT A MARK!

 
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Shane Heard

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 11, 2018
5,380
9,859
AFL Club
Essendon
Che Cockatoo-Collins had the same hype at the same age. Then he drifted off into mediocrity.

Doesn’t matter if you’re indigenous or not. 25 to 28 years of age defines your legacy as a league player at the highest level.
Time will tell ..
 

nut

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 16, 2002
17,503
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He has the best balance and foot work I’ve seen. Maybe Peter Matera comes close. McLeod almost ...
Shai’s side step and evasiveness is just out of this world.... and it’s gettting better... and he is he is just working out what he can and can’t do. A bit like when Superman was discovering his powers.😂

... on pure Talent alone he is the best I’ve seen at Tigerland. But It’s all potential at the moment ... but he is fast catching that potential.
The ball is in his court ... 10 years of dedication and hard work and he’ll be the best Tiger of all time.
 

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