Shai Bolton extends Richmond AFL deal

Shai Bolton has signed a new deal with Richmond until the end of the 2023 AFL season.
Shai Bolton has signed a new deal with Richmond until the end of the 2023 AFL season.

Richmond's strong Indigenous culture inspired young gun Shai Bolton to ink a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the AFL club until the end of 2023.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who was part of the Tigers' premiership-winning sides in 2019 and 2020, has averaged 20 disposals this season.

"I am happy to be at Tigerland. We have got a very good Indigenous culture at Richmond as well, and I think it is getting even better," Bolton said.

"I just love it at the place. The playing group in general, we all have a brotherhood."

Bolton, who hails from Western Australia, has played 64 games for the club after arriving five years ago as pick No.29 in the 2016 national draft.

"He's a prodigious talent as we know. We're very excited about what he can become. He's a match-winner by his own right," coach Damien Hardwick told reporters.

The Tigers are just one win outside the top eight and meet the last-placed but vastly improved North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

Hardwick on Thursday handed a debut to 19-year-old Maurice Rioli Jnr, cousin of Daniel, for the crucial match in Richmond's finals quest.

"He just brings a chaos mentality up forward," Hardwick said.

"His chase pressure and all that is very much like Daniel when he first started. He is probably quicker than Daniel to be fair.

"He has some areas of his game that he needs to improve but he's got some incredible strengths that he brings as well. So, if he does play, that's what we are looking forward to."

Hardwick said the club would look at promoting youth in the final few rounds.

"Personnel-wise we might look at some changes. We'll have a look at some players that played well at VFL level. Hopefully, they can make the jump up."

"We have some players that we really would like to expose at AFL level."

Australian Associated Press