Sport AFL Richmond smash Pies to charge into flag contention
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Richmond smash Pies to charge into flag contention

Bachar Houli is acknowledged by his teammates in his milestone game. Photo: Getty
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Richmond has jumped into the AFL top four, displacing Collingwood as the Tigers make a charge towards September.

On a night when club stalwart Bachar Houli played his 200th game, the Tigers showed grit and no small amount of flair in wet conditions at the MCG to win 14.14 (98) to 9.12 (66).

The Tigers made short work of the Pies, who have hit a late season slump and slipped outside the four after spending much of the year looking like the team to challenge Geelong at the top of the ladder

In front of a crowd of 78,722, Tiger Tom Lynch booted five goals, while Dustin Martin had 38 disposals and kicked two goals.

Houli has become a cult figure at Punt Road, his on-field deeds complimented by his community work in the Muslim community.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick paid tribute to Houli after the match, saying he was thrilled to be a part of his football journey.

“He has been an important player on field and off field for the development of our footy club and it is an honour to be part of his life and his journey,” Hardwick said.

It is quite inspirational to see what he has done, not only for the Richmond Football Club but the Muslim community as well. 

“We are proud of the person he is and the player he has become.”

Houli told Channel Seven the players were looking forward to their run to the finals, with their last four games all at the MCG – a ground where they have only lost three of their past 32 games.

“Credit to the boys, we started the game well, that helps,” he said. “It’s exciting and we love playing here at the G, it’s our favourite ground and we will take it step-by-step.

Richmond’s fifth straight win was tempered by an injury to skipper Trent Cotchin, who was ruled out at quarter-time with what the Tigers labelled a minor hamstring issue.

It is unknown whether the latest setback is related to the serious hamstring injury which left Cotchin sidelined for two months earlier in the season.

Cotchin had been in some doubt for his 150th game as Richmond captain with his wife Brooke due to give birth to their third child at any time.

Hardwick said he hoped it was only a minor “tweak”.

It is disappointing. He has got a bit of a tweak, we’re not sure the extent of it,” the coach said.

“But it is support leg when he was kicking. We are hoping it is on the minus side. But he has had two incidents this year, so he will get scans on Monday or over the weekend to get a better idea.

“Just a disappointing part of the game when you lose players. Collingwood lost a couple as well. So losing players this time of year is always tough.”

Collingwood had lost key defender Jordan Roughead to a second-quarter concussion, while Taylor Adams withdrew with a hamstring before the game.

Collingwood players trudge off after another disappointing showing. Photo: Getty

The Magpies were held goalless for almost an hour of play between Adam Treloar booting the first goal of the match in the opening minutes and Scott Pendlebury’s roving finish shortly before halftime.

The game was effectively all over by the time Lynch booted his fourth goal late in the second quarter, winning a contest in the middle of the ground then drilling a long-range finish on the run to extend the Tigers’ lead to 50 points.

While their season still has hope, the Magpies have now lost four out of six games since their mid-season bye including last week’s hefty defeat to GWS.

Ruck-forward Mason Cox was again held goalless and is one of several Magpies likely to face the pinch at selection.

-with AAP