BACHAR Houli became the first Muslim player to win an AFL premiership on Saturday at the MCG, with the attacking defender playing a starring role as Richmond romped to its first flag in 37 years.

Houli, 29, received the second-most votes for the Norm Smith Medal after gathering 25 disposals and kicking a goal – thriving as the Tigers' predominant 'set-up man' from defence in the club's 48-point win over Adelaide.

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When spoke to the Tigers star outside the MCG changerooms after the match as he enjoyed a quiet moment with his family, Houli was well aware he was part of history. 

Former Melbourne forward and Muslim Adem Yze played in the 2000 Grand Final, but his team went down by 60 points to Essendon.

"It's not a dramatic achievement, it's not huge but it's a piece of history so we'll take that on board," Houli said.

Houli had some challenging moments throughout 2017, where his faith was tested. The Tigers defender was suspended for four matches for a high hit on Carlton's Jed Lamb that left the forward concussed in round 14. 

The AFL's Match Review Panel initially handed Houli a two-game ban, but the League appealed the decision after it was judged the suspension was "manifestly inadequate" and the ban was revised to a month's holiday.

"I thought I dealt with it the way a Muslim should deal with the situation in life. We're going to be tested in different parts of life, different situations," Houli said. 

"I dealt with it in the correct manner – that was with complete patience and more importantly controlling what I can control. 

"That was to continue to train hard, work hard and hopefully come back and play decent footy. To my credit, I did that and it's paid off at the end and I've been able to play some consistent football." 

Even still, Houli was quick to express his remorse over the incident and said he followed up with Lamb on a number of occasions to make sure he was ok.

"I'm very remorseful, regardless of the situation," Houli said. 

"Even sometimes when I'm in the right I'm the first person to put my hand up and say sorry, that's just the type of person I am. 

"It happened. The main thing is that he (Lamb) was good. I texted him a couple of times after that, but we move on now. We've achieved something special and I'm very proud of the team's efforts today (Saturday)."

Houli had 14 family members attend the Grand Final along with close friend Ali Fahour, who gave him a big hug in the change-rooms after the match.

Fahour received a life ban for striking an opponent while playing local football in July, while he also stood down from his post as AFL diversity manager. 

Houli said he maintained an inseparable connection with Fahour despite the testing times they have both faced this year.

"He's a true brother to me. He's with me all the time and always offering great support. Whether it's business, in life or family support he's always there for me," Houli said.

"I love him as a true brother and nothing will ever separate us, by the good will of God." 

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Houli was Richmond's most influential player on the ground in the first half, allowed to roam with freedom against an Adelaide team that was content to have their own defender, Rory Laird, loose at the other end of the ground.

"It was just the game to unleash. There was nothing to lose and you've got to play it smart, knowing when to run and when not to," Houli said.

"Even defensively I was really proud of my efforts taking chop out marks etc.

"The great thing about it is that I thought I had a good balance between offence and defence and that's something I've been working hard on for a long time. 

"There was the reward at the end of it and it was special to kick a goal as well."

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