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  • Writer's pictureJohn Townsend

Bolton leads the way in SportFM's WAFL Top 40

Jye Bolton has won two Sandover medals as the WAFL’s best player, three Cook medals as Claremont’s fairest and best and four Simpson medals for standing up in the biggest games of the season.

Don’t discount him from adding to one or all of those categories this season.

While Bolton’s two grand final losses rankle as much as the medal counts brought him satisfaction, his drive to achieve the ultimate team success could have a significant personal benefit.

Bolton could match the best player this century – Subiaco’s dynamic rover Alastair Pickett - by securing a Sandover at the age of 31 and will enter his eighth WAFL season as the player judged by SportFM as the most important in the competition.

Bolton’s extraordinary running ability, incisive kicking, the versatility that has seen him excel as a rebounding half-back and, most importantly, his trait of producing his best at the most critical moments has seen him edge out fellow Tiger and Sandover winner Bailey Rogers, West Perth star Luke Meadows, deadly goal-kickers Tyler Keitel and Ben Sokol, and several returning AFL players as the WAFL’s No.1 footballer.

Players were ranked on their form and impact last season, an assessment of their likely role and value to their team this year, as well as the threat they provide to opposition sides.

Premiership duo Keitel and Meadows lead a powerful West Perth cohort that has nine players on the list.

That includes veterans Aaron Black, Shane Nelson and Mark Hutchings but there are high expectations on big-name recruit Zac Langdon after he was surprisingly cut by West Coast last year while the mercurial Mitch Dobson has been added after his break-out 2022 season.

East Perth also have a strong presence on the list and the five players named will be keys in new coach Ross McQueen’s bid to get his team into finals.

Mitch Crowden enters the list at No.11 and will complement one of the strongest midfield combinations in the league.

Selecting recently delisted AFL players is often a fraught exercise because they have to come to terms with the move to the lower level while dealing with employment and life challenges that are often not part of the AFL environment.

South Fremantle pick-up Jordan Gallucci, who was drafted by Adelaide at No.15, may be an exception to that rule after sparkling during Bulldogs pre-season training.

West Coast duo Alec Waterman and Jackson Nelson, and East Fremantle’s Hugh Dixon, who all have considerable experience in WA, were the only other delisted players named on the list.


Top 40 WAFL players in 2023

1 Jye Bolton C

2 Tyler Keitel WP

3 Luke Meadows WP

4 Bailey Rogers C

5 Ben Sokol Su

6 Zac Clarke Su

7 Sam Fisher SD

8 Hamish Brayshaw EP

9 Jon Marsh EF

10 Shane Nelson WP

11 Mitch Crowden Su

12 Alec Waterman WC

13 Jordan Gallucci SF

14 Harry Marsh EF

15 Jesse Turner SD

16 Scott Jones EP

17 Jack Buller C

18 Leigh Kitchin Su

19 Brendan Ah Chee SF

20 Aaron Black WP

21 Chad Pearson SF

22 Stefan Giro S

23 Zac Strom SF

24 Ben Edwards C

25 Christian Ameduri EP

26 Aiden Clarke SD

27 Hugh Dixon EF

28 Mitch Peirce WP

29 Dylan Main SF

30 Sam Stubbs Pe

31 Zac Langdon WP

32 Angus Schumacher EP

33 Kyle Baskerville EF

34 Mark Hutchings WP

35 Brady Gray PT

36 Jake Florenca SF

37 Zac Guadagnin WP

38 Mitch Dobson WP

39 Michael Sinclair P

40 Jackson Nelson WC

West Perth 9

South Fremantle 6

East Perth 5

East Fremantle 4

Subiaco 4

Claremont 4

Swan Districts 3

West Coast 2

Perth 2

Peel 1


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