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Shai set to shine

Hartley ahead of the draft Blair Hartley provides TT's legion of loyal listeners with an interesting insight into Richmond's recruitment of star key forward Tom Lynch, the departure of players to rival league clubs, the re-signing of several Tigers, and an overview of the Club's list management strategy.

Richmond has high hopes that talented, young small man Shai Bolton will take a significant step forward in his development at the game’s highest level next season.

Bolton, who was the Tigers’ pick (No. 29 overall) in the 2016 AFL national draft, managed only three senior appearances during the 2018 season, to add to the six he made in his 2017 debut year.

He recently signed a new one-year deal with Richmond and the Club’s list manager Blair Hartley believes he’s well equipped to make a decent impression in season 2019.

“Shai’s an exciting prospect. He’s got difference-making qualities,” Hartley said on the off-season special episode of ‘Talking Tigers’.

“I was actually excited to see him during the course of last season, even though he wasn’t playing AFL, play up the ground a little bit more.

“He has to work on his fitness . . . he knows that. I know he’s doing a lot of work back in Perth at the moment.

“He’s only three months older than Jack Higgins (turns 20 on December 8), and he’s coming from a fair way back in terms of his preparation, but I feel like he’s starting to really get it now.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him play some pretty good footy next year.

“He’s got real speed, he can jump and mark it . . .

“He’s a couple of pre-seasons away from being able to consistently compete at AFL level.

Hartley believes Bolton is capable of having an impact further afield in 2019, rather than as a small forward, where he’s played predominantly throughout his first two seasons with the Tigers.

“In the under-18 championships, I remember a game he played against South Australia over there,” Hartley said.

“The density rule made him play forward-50 and they were getting a little bit of a touch-up, WA . . .

“He played on the wing in the second half and really changed the game.

“With his vertical leap and his movement, he can be an offensive weapon.

“We’re excited by what he can do.”