Recently-retired Richmond triple premiership hero Bachar Houli has provided a fascinating insight into his wonderful journey at the game’s highest level in a special AFL.com.au video. From “Let It Be, Let It Go: Inside the real Bachar Houli story”, here is what he had to say on a range of topics related to his time with the Tigers . . .

On the tremendous Tigerland turnaround

“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about success, I wasn’t thinking about premierships, because maybe always finishing ninth or finishing eighth, seventh, I felt like for us to win a premiership, we’re so far away,” he said.

“But it’s amazing when you change a couple of things in your environment how things just completely flip.

“That’s when we just started to invest into each other a little bit more.

“When you start investing in someone on a deeper level, you win their heart. Speaking about life, speaking about your struggles, your hardships, what makes you happy.

“Once you start tasting that success, it’s hard to go backwards.”

07:22 Mins
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Inside the real Bachar Houli story

From Spotswood to flag hero, Bachar Houli opens up on his AFL journey, family, and faith

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On the importance of off-field preparation

“It’s all ‘prep’ prior to those big games. And the best form of prep you can do is the stuff you do off the field.

“That’s something we invest in hugely at the footy club – off-field, and how to keep your mental state positive. And how to balance back when things aren’t going your way.

“A lot of it for me comes from my faith as well.

“It’s about positivity, it’s about, you know what, put a smile on your face and enjoy it. The result will take care of itself. Control what you can control.

“And that is your state at that given moment.

“Remember when you were a kid, you’d go out on that footy field pumped. And that’s keeping yourself calm, so that you can perform in those big moments.”

03:11 Mins
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Houli career highlights

Watch Bachar Houli's career highlights.

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On the terrific Tiger teammates’ connection

“I’ve spent at least 11 years with a lot of these players and have developed some great relationships.

“That’s not purely because we won premierships. It’s far, far beyond that. It’s about connecting on a personal level.”

On coming to the end of his AFL career

“I feel like I was getting towards my end for the last four or five years.  

“I knew that once you hit that big three-O, things start to go downhill.

“Physically, starting to slow down, your motivation lacks at times. Btoput that wasn’t a negative thing, that was a positive thing because I just played more freely. 

“I thought, you know what, just enjoy every moment that you have because it can be taken away so quick.”

11:28 Mins
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Houli announces his retirement

Bachar Houli announces his retirement to the playing group.

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On his final AFL game v Gold Coast, Round 16, 2021

“I was playing consistent football, feeling on top of the world. Little did I know it was my last game.

“I got injured but guess what – I enjoyed that game. Even though we lost, I enjoyed it, and that was my goal for every single year.

“Just enjoy training, enjoy the mateship that you have created at the football club, enjoy the wins, learn from your losses. 

“It's easy for us to say, ‘Oh I'm so grateful’, but you've got to feel it.”

On life after football

“Words can’t express how excited I am with this next phase of my life.

“I’m so pumped. I can’t wait.

“Wherever life takes me, I’ll let it be. Most importantly, having a smile on my face.”

BHF Talks – A Bachar Houli Foundation Podcast

BHF Talks is a podcast from the Bachar Houli Foundation that spotlights prominent members of the community. Each week, host Bilal Ali is joined by a special guest to talk about their life, career, and impact in the community.

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