Bachar Houli announces retirement after 232 games with Richmond and Essendon

Chris RobinsonThe West Australian
Email Chris Robinson
VideoWA's bid for AFL grand final

The retirements continue to flow through thick and fast, with Bachar Houli soon joined by some other veterans today in confirming they’ll hang up the boots.

Houli confirmed he would not be going on after three premierships at Richmond among 232 games at the Tigers and Essendon.

Adelaide’s David Mackay and St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle were also confirmed to be heading for the exit door, while Shaun Burgoyne will also finish up at Hawthorn as expected.


It followed a string of announcements earlier this week, headlined by popular 350-game forward Eddie Betts at Carlton.

Houli 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.

“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.

“I sincerely thank the club and the AFL for allowing me to be me.

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

Bachar Houli is hanging up the boots.
Camera IconBachar Houli is hanging up the boots. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

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.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails