Richmond’s shock loss to lowly Gold Coast has been compounded by confirmation veteran defender Bachar Houli could miss the rest of the AFL season because of injury.
- Houli was injured in the Tigers’ loss to the Suns on Thursday night
- The club expects Houli will undergo surgery, which would likely end his season
- The Tigers sit in eighth place on the ladder
Houli will likely have surgery on a mild syndesmosis injury, placing doubt on the three-time premiership winner’s storied 231-match career.
The Tigers released a statement saying the 33-year-old was in a moon boot and had scans on Friday.
Winners of three of the past four flags, the Tigers were taken down by the Suns, who have never made finals in their 11 seasons, in one of the biggest AFL upsets in years.
The Tigers are clinging to eighth place ahead of the completion of round 16, with a 7-8 win-loss record.
They have peaked in the back half of all three of their recent premiership campaigns but they could not be further away from that type of form.
Tigers Coach Damien Hardwick said his squad still had the hunger to win a third straight premiership and fourth in five seasons.
“Our group are very proud,” he said.
“We’re the first to admit we’re not playing anywhere the level of capacity we think we can and we’ve got to get better in a lot of facets in our game.
“In fairness, Gold Coast were outstanding. Their hunger in and around the contest was good.
“They looked a side, probably similar to us, they replicated a brand that certainly looked like us and played accordingly.
“Our boys are just lacking confidence at the moment, which is surprising. When they play their very best we’re a great footy side.
Aside from Houli, the Tigers have other injury concerns following the loss to the Suns.
Young forward Callum Coleman-Jones injured his calf during the contest.
Premiership stars Nick Vlastuin and Shane Edwards played out the match but were sore and are no certainties to face Collingwood next week.
Other key players Noah Balta and Nathan Broad are still sidelined, but midfielder Dion Prestia and ruckman Toby Nankervis could return soon.
The only shining light in Richmond’s first loss to the Suns since 2014 was the comeback match from star forward Tom Lynch, who booted five goals in his first appearance since round 10.
“He’s (Lynch) missed a significant chunk of footy so he’s only going to get better, I would think,” Hardwick said.
After playing the Magpies in round 17, the Tigers face top-four teams the Brisbane Lions and Geelong.