Bachar Houli is one of Richmond’s most experienced and reliable defenders. His ability to play purely defensive as well as rebound and provide attack for his team, illustrates his versatility and flexibility as a player. Having played 170 AFL games, Houli is still improving and becoming a better footballer with time.
A Vic Metro Under 16 and 18 representative, Houli was drafted by Essendon in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft at selection 42. Playing in a range of roles with the Bombers, Houli was nominated for the NAB Rising Star after an outstanding game in the opening round of 2008. After four years and 26 games at Essendon, the former Western Jet made the move to Richmond at the end of 2010 in search of greater opportunity.
This was achieved over Houli’s first two years at Punt Road. A top five finish in the Best and Fairest in his first year at the Tigers as a running half-back or wing justified the move. Houli played a remarkable 111 games in his first five years with Richmond. A wrist injury limited Houli to 12 games in 2016, but his talent still shone through with five 30-plus possession games. 2017 was a stand-out year for Houli, playing 21 games across the year and averaging 23.6 disposals and 3.6 tackles a game. He was an integral part in Richmond’s 2017 premiership success and was recognised as one of the best performers of the Grand Final.
Off the field, Bachar is the AFL’s first devout muslim. An Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassador, Houli has been named an inaugural winner of the Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding from the University of South Australia’s Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Australia Day Council in late 2012. In his ambassador role, some ground breaking initiatives have been established. The Bachar Houli Cup, an inter-Islamic schools football competition involving Islamic schools across Victoria, as well as the Bachar Houli Academy; established to nuture young Islamic footballers aspiring to follow in Houli’s footsteps as a footballer and person. Both initiatives have been created with a great impact in a short time. Houli has been a remarkable figure both on and off the field with his leadership and community work – a true credit to his character.
Houli’s website bacharhouli.com.au gives fans an insight into Houli’s career.