Richmond’s 2020 campaign has faced its fair share of ups and downs with injuries and a gruelling fixture on the road in an era of COVID-19.
One of the major shining lights is the Tigers’ young gun Shai Bolton.
The 21-year-old has shown his maturity and diverse playing style in the midfield after All Australian Shane Edwards was forced to miss the start of the Queensland hub with a baby on the way.
Bolton stepping up to the midfield has brought a new energy and speed to the midfield, which most Tigers fans assumed would be missing with the loss of Edwards.
Bolton has stepped up and shown his gut-running ability and his poise and execution with the ball and with his forward-50 entries.
Bolton was a part of the infamous mosquito fleet of small forwards accompanying the tall forwards of Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch to crumb the ground ball.
The injuries in the Richmond midfield opened up a space for the young star to show more natural ability and awareness in using the ball.
Bolton’s individual brilliance come to the forefront on Saturday for the annual Dreamtime clash played in Darwin.
Bolton had 29 disposals, five clearances, seven inside-50s and an early goal as the Tigers claimed a 12-point win.
Bolton also upstaged his superstar teammate in Dustin Martin to take home Yiooken Trophy.
The Richmond midfield are becoming a scary prospect in 2020 with the likes of Trent Cotchin and Kane Lambert not yet reaching top gear.
Fellow midfielders still out of action like Dion Prestia and Shane Edwards are still an ominous prospect come September.
The youth at Tigerland with the likes of Bolton and Noah Balta are exciting for Richmond supporters with a new era of Tiger cubs on the rise.
Richmond has blooded a lot of youth in 2020 to combat the footy frenzy with shorter breaks and tougher travel schedules.
Clubs never want to see injuries to their players, but Richmond have seemed to unearth a few diamonds in the rough and given more game time to its more inexperienced brigade.