Bachar Houli retires with three premierships in the bank

Richmond triple-premiership defender Bachar Houli has retired from the AFL after 232 games.

Houli started his career at Essendon, where he played 26 games between 2007 and 2011 before joining the Tigers in the pre-season draft.

The dashing backman played 206 games and a key role in three flags for the Tigers, finishing runner-up to Dustin Martin for the Norm Smith Medal in both the 2017 and 2019 triumphs.

Houli, who fought through an early calf injury to play an important role in the 2020 grand final win, had previously said he’d hoped to play on next year, but called time on Thursday.

“I have been fortunate enough to play at two great clubs and to be a part of the history of this game,” the 33-year-old said in a statement.

“Not only did I want to play as many games as possible but I wanted to educate Australia, about my faith [and] about the religion of Islam, the religion of peace. I hope I have left a sense of peace in everyone’s heart.

“It’s time to go fishing, Tiger for life.”

Bachar Houli says he hopes he has “left a sense of peace in everyone’s heart”.(

Getty Images: Michael Wilson


Houli also played a key role off the field at Richmond, founding the Bachar Houli Foundation, which works to build young leaders within the Muslim community.

His retirement comes days after fellow defender David Astbury quit, with coach Damien Hardwick hailing both veterans’ influences.

“Both retire three-time premiership players but that’s only really scratching the surface of what both those boys have brought to our club,” Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.

“The legacy that they will leave, and have built, can’t be measured and to be honest, they can’t be replaced.”


Houli was an all-Australian in 2019 and was top 10 of the Jack Dyer Medal — Richmond’s best and fairest — in seven of the past 10 seasons.

He had battled calf injuries over the past two seasons, while a syndesmosis injury in round 16 brought his 2021 to an early close.


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