Veteran Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro has explained the situation that led to Bachar Houli being delisted and picked up by Richmond.
Houli has gone on to become an All-Australian and premiership defender with the Tigers and Dodoro says their decision to delist him was based on Houli’s steadfast wish to head to Punt Road.
The defender had struggled to crack into the Essendon line-up, playing 26 games in four seasons, and requested a trade to Richmond in the 2010 trade period.
A trade didn’t eventuate, but Dodoro says that Houli was set on leaving the Bombers, despite pleas from himself and new coach James Hird.
“It’s one I’d like to set the record straight, because there’s been recent press that we delisted and let Bachar go. Well in a way that may be right, but he walked out on us at the time and we pleaded for him to stay,” Dodoro told the Dodcast.
“It’s one of the biggest disappointments in my career, to be honest, because we’d taken Bachar and we believed in him, but he felt he wasn’t getting a fair go at the time.
“He felt that he wasn’t getting selected when he should’ve been selected and felt that the grass was greener at Richmond.
“Good luck to him. He’s become a fabulous player, another All-Australian player and a premiership hero at Richmond. You couldn’t get a nicer person than Bachar, but we certainly didn’t let him go. We wanted to keep him.
“Hopefully one day we can sit down and have a chat to him and hopefully he looks back on his days at Essendon as something that helped him with his career.”
Dodoro, who has developed a reputation for being difficult to deal with at the trade table, said the reason they refused to trade him to Richmond was so that they could get a small advantage in the Pre-Season draft.
“The reason why there was no trade done was because, at the time, Richmond offered us a pick that we couldn’t use in the draft,” he said.
“So strategically, we assessed the best thing for us to do was, if he was going to leave, to put him in the draft because they had committed to taking him in the Pre-Season Draft.
“Whoever was first had already committed to a player and, from memory, it was going to give us the first live pick in the Pre-Season Draft by doing that. We picked up Michael Hibberd, who went on to be an All-Australian player.
“You could basically say we let Bachar go off the list and brought Michael Hibberd onto the list at the time, so that’s how we rationalised it … We wanted to force their hand.”