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Coaches' Corner: Shai Bolton

Coaches' Corner: Shai Bolton In this week's edition of Coaches' Corner, Matthew Richardson and Xavier Clarke take a look at how Shai Bolton has been developing.

Richmond development coach Xavier Clarke provides Richmond Media with an insight into the exciting progress of slick, quick, young small forward Shai Bolton. 

Impressive recent body of work

“It was good to see him get a bit of reward for his work, a couple of weeks ago (v Fremantle), with goals on the scoreboard . . . The last three years that he’s been at the Club, he’s had to work on his endurance, his fitness and ability to see out games longer. That was always going to take time. We drafted him as a 17-year-old, so we had patience with him . . . We knew that getting his build up, when he’s 20-21, he was going to be a completely different player because of the work he’s done.”

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Developed his tank over pre-season

“He came back in really good shape this year. He went home (to WA) over the Christmas break and couldn’t do much running because he had sore shins. So he jumped in the gym and he actually put on a lot of muscle, which, funnily enough, may have cost him with his running that he did at the start of pre-season. But, to his credit, he worked really hard to get his weight back down His skinfolds were in really good nick. It wasn’t unwanted weight – it was through doing weights. He worked really hard to get back to where he needed to be, and he’s seen the rewards for it now.”

Breakout game v Fremantle, Round 8

“One thing that he needs to pride his game on is the ability to be able to put pressure on – tackle pressure, second and third efforts. He was rewarded with the four goals, but it was all based off his defence and defensive pressure. ‘Dimma’ loves to see that, especially from all his small forwards. And Shai showed he certainly can do that.

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Other areas of his game he’s been working on

“We all know that he can win the ball and be really creative around the contest. He can stop on a five-cent piece and turn ‘oppo’ inside out. But what’s becoming a feature of his game is bringing other people into the game . . . spotting someone up. If he can pride himself on his tackle pressure, his contested-ball around the forward-50, and also bring others into the game, that makes him a really good, valuable team player for us. It’s great to see him do it. And we know that he’s going to take Mark of the Year one time soon, hopefully.”

First-rate poise

“He does have composure, which is great and which we need, especially in games where it can be really hot . . .”

Ability to hit up on the lead

“Andrew McQualter (Richmond forwards coach) has done a great job with him about running his right patterns. He’s a very quick, small forward, who’s hard to go with. If he gets in the right spots, he’s going to get used more times than not.”