Shai Bolton is enjoying a blistering season for Richmond and has been lauded by AFL greats after another game-winning performance.
Bolton was at his best on Sunday against Brisbane as the Tigers clawed back a 42-point deficit to triumph by seven points at the MCG.
The 23-year-old’s struggles with his goal kicking continued, booting two goals from seven shots, but he also had 24 disposals, 711 meters gained and game-highs in score involvements (12) and inside 50s (9).
Essendon great Tim Watson, who called the game for Channel Sevenwas enamored by the performance.
“Is he the most watchable player in the game right now?” he began on SEN Breakfast.
“I don’t like to make these big statements, but I don’t know of any player in the game right now that is more watchable than Shai Bolton.
“It’s just something I left the MCG with the impression of on Sunday, having watched him live – and I’ve watched him plenty of times on TV – oh my goodness me.
“He does stuff that no one else can do. It’s like he’s got springs in his legs from him… he’s an extraordinary talent.
“Score involvements, when you participate in a score as part of a chain… he is 45 per cent involvement (to disposals), the next best is Marcus Bontempelli at 36 per cent, then Chad Warner and Christian Petracca.”
Bolton averages 7.7 score involvements per game, sixth in the competition, and has 47 more score involvements across the season than any other Tiger.
Port Adelaide Hall of Famer Kane Cornes went one step further than Watson, describing the Richmond utility as “the best player in the game right now”.
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) August 1, 2022
“Shai Bolton is just extraordinary,” Cornes said on Nine’s Footy Classified.
“To watch him and what he’s doing… he’s playing this role more than uniquely since Dustin Martin has.
“I think he’s now number one, is there a better player in the competition than Shai Bolton for impact?
“Look at center bounce, score involvements, he’s had 69 shots on goal for a small forward.
“What he’s doing, for me, he’s probably the best player in the game right now.”
Bolton earned six coaches’ votes for his Sunday performance and ranks as the second highest non-midfielder in the AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award behind James Sicily.