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WA star Shai Bolton commits to Richmond for two more years

West Coast have missed out on boosting its strong forward line, with WA-raised Richmond goalsneak Shai Bolton re-signing with the Tigers for two more seasons.

Shai Bolton takes a spectacular mark over Lachie Neale in the qualifying final.Shai Bolton takes a spectacular mark over Lachie Neale in the qualifying final.
Camera IconShai Bolton takes a spectacular mark over Lachie Neale in the qualifying final.Picture: Getty Images

There were reports earlier this month that the Eagles were chasing the 20-year-old who had blossomed in his third season in the AFL, playing 17 games including a solid performance against Brisbane in the weekend’s qualifying final.

But the second-round pick has chosen to stay in Richmond, signing on until the end of 2021.

A naturally gifted footballer, Bolton is averaging 14.4 disposals, 3.6 inside-50s, 3.2 marks, 5.7 score involvements and 3.6 tackles per match this season, and has kicked 14 goals.

Bolton was drafted from WAFL team South Fremantle with pick 29 in the 2016 National Draft.

Fellow youngster Patrick Naish has also re-signed with Richmond.

The Adelaide junior has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Tigerland until at least the end of 2021.

Essendon star takes time away

Midfielder Zach Merrett says he is unsure whether Joe Daniher will be at Essendon next year with the Bombers spearhead to take time away to consider his future.

Daniher has been linked to a move to Sydney since a meeting with Swans chief executive Tom Harley in August and hasn’t definitively said he will be at the Bombers long term.

The 25-year-old is contracted for 2020 but will be a free agent at the end of next season and Merrett said Daniher had to decide if he would stay at Essendon.

“Joe’s obviously got to make his mind up himself,” Merrett said on Wednesday.

“I think he’s made it pretty clear that he’s going to have a bit of time away and decide what he wants to do with his footy going forward.

“So the club’s fully supportive of Joe and whatever he does and I hope that he’s at Essendon next year.”

An All Australian in 2017, Daniher was restricted to just 11 games over the past two seasons through injury, with a groin issue ending his 2019 season early.

Speaking at NAB’s unveiling of a Tayla Harris statue at Federation Square, Merrett acknowledged the difficulty of Melbourne’s footy “bubble”, but said he believed it would be a tough call for Daniher to leave the Bombers.

“I’m not too sure, I mean, he’s got a lot of friends and family in Melbourne,“ Merrett said.

“So although it is a bit of a footy bubble, I’m sure he loves being supported by his close family and friends and he’s got some great relationships at the Essendon footy club.

“So I think it’d be a pretty tough decision to walk away but he’s got to make up his own mind.”

Daniher was eligible as a father-son selection for both Essendon and Sydney before joining the Bombers in the 2012 AFL draft.

He has played 104 games for the Bombers and Merrett said the club would be supportive of the forward taking his time to consider his future.

“I think it’s the reality of the industry is you have to put yourself first at times,” Merrett said.

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