Fox Footy pundits have heaped praise on Tigers star Shay Bolton, and Cameron Mooney has announced that Bolton will take over as Richmond’s “No.1” if the club release Dustin Martin.
Bolton continued his impressive campaign with 15 disposals and two goals against Fremantle on Friday night, and his display of ball in hand reflected that.
It is believed Martin will miss the rest of the home-and-away season with the injury, although he has two years left on his $2.4 million contract with Richmond and could request a trade to Sydney.
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Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale said the three-time Norm Smith Medalist would run out the remaining two years of his contract, saying Martin had had a challenging year but was “in a growth area”.
But speaking on Fox Footy Live after the game, Mooney is unsure of Martin’s future but believes Richmond are on good terms with Bolton.
“We are seeing a true football star rise before our eyes this year,” said the Geelong great.
“If Abusti decides to leave, this man will take over the mantle as No.1.
“Wait until he gets 100-150 games under his belt. He throws it to center field. He destroys teams.”
Former Hawthorns sharpshooter Ben Dixon said it was “scary” to think how much experience Bolton, who has played 85 AFL games since making his debut in 2017, has.
“It’s a barometer, let’s be honest, anything happens with tea polish,” Dixon said.
“Shay’s foot speed, power, acceleration, he gets his legs out of the game, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the first quarter or the last, he has the same energy and the same explosiveness.
“You can leave players in your wake, and he did that tonight. Richmond know that when the ball is in the area, something can happen.
“The beauty is when you go to football and you watch Bolton, everyone watches before the ball because they know he’s going to pull it off, explode and do something different with it.”
Bolton He has put himself firmly in the All-Australian mix in 2022, averaging 18.2 disposals from 18 games and kicking a career-best 33 goals.
And Dixon praised the small forward for his ability to play multiple positions on the floor.
“He can drop back and help in transition, pass through midfield and obviously make an impact going forward,” Dicken said.
“I just love his foot speed and his ability to get out of tackles. He’s only kicked two goals (at Fremantle) but his off-ball and conversion side is huge.