Houli free to play in grand final after being cleared of hit
RICHMOND defender Bachar Houli is free to play in the grand final after being cleared by match review officer Michael Christian for his high hit on Gryan Miers.
While the Tigers are sweating on injuries to Jack Graham and Nathan Broad, they no longer have to worry about Houli's availability after he appeared to make high contact with Miers in the third quarter.
Christian contended Houli was leading into space when Miers "moves to lay a block".
"Houli seeks to evade Miers and in the process of fending off his opponent, Houli makes high contact," the official statement read.
"It was the view of the MRO there was insufficient forceful high contact to constitute a reportable offence."
Miers returned to his feet shortly after the incident, but stayed on the ground after the Tiger defender appeared to raise his elbow and make contact to the Cat's neck/throat region.
No other incidents from Friday night's preliminary final were assessed.
The Tigers are already sweating on several injuries after storming into their second grand final in three years at the MCG.
Dustin Martin played hurt for most of the match but still inspired his team with two goals and 22 disposals.
Martin spent a large portion of the first quarter on the bench with the Tigers already a man down after Grahram dislocated his shoulder.
The Tigers superstar appeared to cop a knock to his left quad from Cats defender Mark Blicavs in a marking contest before kicking the Tigers' first goal and hobbled to the bench.
He returned to the field but pulled up short when chasing Patrick Dangerfield from a centre clearance and was soon off the ground again.
Martin sat out the rest of the quarter, spending more than eight minutes on the bench.
Adding to his woes, Martin missed an easy set shot for goal from 20m on a slight angle and was limited in his movement.
But the Tigers' biggest injury worries are midfielder Graham (shoulder) and defender Broad (concussion).
Graham suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the opening quarter as he attempted to lay a tackle on Geelong's Tom Atkins.
Graham, who entered the game with heavy strapping on his left shoulder, bravely returned to the field and played out the game after having his right arm also strapped up following the dislocation.
However, he was clearly restricted in his abilities and would be in severe doubt to play in next Saturday's grand final.
Broad suffered a concussion at the 21-minute-mark of the third quarter after copping a knock from teammate Jayden Short followed by a knee from Cat Brandon Parfitt as he was going to ground.
Broad was ruled out of the game after being helped from the ground by trainers, clearly dazed.
Rising star Sydney Stack will play in Sunday's VFL Grand Final in an attempt to put his name in the mix for a grand final berth.
Tiigers captain Trent Cotchin was also limping in the second quarter after a heavy knock, to either the calf or shin.
Cotchin was later involved in a controversial moment that gifted the Cats a goal before the main break.
Patrick Dangerfield was awarded a free kick for a push in a marking contest from Nick Vlastuin but Cotchin handed the ball back to Houli, who thought it was his free kick after he was also sent flying in the pack.
Umpire Ray Chamberlain awarded a 50m penalty to Dangerfield as a result, who then goaled from point-blank range with four seconds left on the clock in the first half to give the Cats a commanding 21-point lead at the main break.
The Tigers were later denied a 50m penalty of their own in the third quarter.
Tom Lynch took a mark just inside 50 and, after running back on his mark, Tom Stewart clearly ran across the mark in plain view of umpire Shaun Ryan.
"How's that not 50 there?," commentator Matthew Richardson said.
"That has to be 50," fellow commentator Brian Taylor agreed.