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Houli running hot

Round 10: Bachar wins Yiooken award Bachar Houli accepts the Yiooken award for his best one ground performance at Dreamtime at the 'G.

Bachar Houli, at 31 years of age, and in his 13th season of AFL football, is tracking towards an inaugural All-Australian blazer.

When the All-Australian selectors meet soon for their first meeting of 2019, Houli’s name surely must figure prominently in discussions.

The dashing defender, who played such a pivotal role in Richmond’s drought-breaking 2017 premiership triumph, is in career-best form after missing three games early this season with a hamstring injury.

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He’s averaging 28.4 disposals, 6.4 marks, 6.3 rebound-50s and 3.0 tackles per match in the seven games he’s played.

Competition-wide, he’s ranked second in bounces per game, fourth in effective disposals per game and sixth in metres gained per game.

Houli’s outstanding display in last night’s blockbuster Dreamtime at the ‘G clash with his former side Essendon highlighted just how important he is to the Tigers’ team.

He finished the match with a game-high 37 disposals, including a game-high 10 rebound-50s, three inside-50s, six marks, 12 intercepts and a whopping 814 metres gained.

Fittingly, he received the Yiooken Award after being voted best afield in Richmond’s 23-point Dreamtime win.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick paid tribute to Houli during his post-match press conference.

“I think I even under-rate him at stages,” Hardwick said.

“The way he runs and the way he uses the ball . . . he’s just a wonderful player.

“He’s been fantastic for us for a long period of time and he’s probably starting to get the plaudits he really deserves.”

Fill-in Tigers captain Shane Edwards also was full of praise for his long-time teammate Houli.

“He’s our oldest player and he’s just a running machine,” Edwards said.

“We know we can get a lot out of him every game, wet or dry. So it was no surprise how well he played tonight . . .

“He got tagged in the second half as well.”