RICHMOND defender Bachar Houli has revealed he bravely played almost the entirety of Saturday night's Grand Final with a torn calf, having injured himself amid a chaotic first quarter in the club's remarkable victory over Geelong.
Houli, who said he felt tightness in his calf before the match, heard a 'pop' as he ran across the field during an opening term in which fellow Tigers defender Nick Vlastuin was also hurt.
TIGERS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
Vlastuin failed to finish the match after being knocked out following a sickening collision with Patrick Dangerfield, while retiring Cats legend Gary Ablett also appeared to dislocate his shoulder amid the frantic first few minutes of the game.
But both Houli and Ablett returned to finish the match, with the triple-premiership Richmond player revealing the extent of his injury after the game.
THINGS WE LEARNED Tigers skipper writes his name into club folklore
"I did my calf about two minutes after Nick Vlastuin got knocked out," Houli told Triple M afterwards.
"I thought I was done, but the great man 'Dimma' said they needed me to battle on.
UNFORGETTABLE Gabba delivers a night Grand Final to savour
"I'm just so proud to see the boys put in that effort."
Houli finished the match with 11 disposals, admirably fulfilling his defensive duties as Richmond overcame a 22-point deficit to comfortably overcome Geelong on its way to a third flag in four years.
The injury comes after the veteran half-back missed round one this year with a calf injury, which also hampered him throughout much of the game's shutdown period.
However, despite flagging tightness in his calf and having the problem massaged pre-game, Houli did not believe it would result in any further injury throughout the match.
"It was a little bit tight, but I didn't think much of it," Houli said.
TIGERS PLAYER RATINGS No passengers on the Tiger train
"I'd been in that same situation two times in the last six weeks, so I didn't think much of it.
"I sprinted across the ground and it popped. I thought I was done, but I knew there was no next week and I wanted to give it all I had."