At the end of 2020, one of the Power’s true champions retired: Justin Westhoff.
He retired before Port Adelaide’s finals campaign was over, knowing that the Round 14 win against Sydney was his final hurrah.
He knew it was time to hang up the famous number 39 jumper that he had worn in more AFL games than anyone except Geelong’s Darren Milburn and in which he had kicked more goals than any other AFL player except flamboyant full forward Warwick Capper.
His near-top performance in those two arenas epitomises his career as an all-round champion. He finished his 14 years at Port Adelaide as the third greatest games player at the club due to the resurgent Travis Boak playing seven more games than him in 2020.
He finished his 14 years at Port Adelaide as the third greatest goal scorer after the brilliant goal sneak Robbie Gray passed him near the end of the 2018 season while he was busy on defensive duties.
The fact that the two players ahead of him as game players and goal scorers at the club are four different champions underlines his value.
Westhoff is the oldest player to ever play for the club, and his two compatriots who started in the same year as him will have to play more than one year longer to match him.
The three amigos who were players number 100 (Gray), 101 (Westhoff) and 102 (Boak) for the Power have played together under four of the five coaches the club has had, the only exception being the original coach, John Cahill.
Westhoff and Boak played in Port’s losing grand final to Geelong in 2007 and the classic swingman and fellow retiree Brad Ebert, who spent he first four years of his career playing 76 games for West Coast, leave the club in good shape.
Minor premiers in season 2020, the club has strengthened their playing list by the addition of Sydney’s Aliir Aliir and Essendon’s Orazio Fantasia and so are primed for another shot at the big one in 2021.
In addition to Boak and Gray, the Power have another 17 of their all-time top 100 game players in the line-up for next year. Hamish Hartlett will match Brad Ebert in the first game of the season and would expect to reach the 200-game milestone and therefore the top ten before the end of the season. Ollie Wines and skipper Tom Jonas are travelling in tandem up the list and in this year’s preliminary final ousted Shaun Burgoyne from the top 20.
Tom Clurey needs one game to become the 48th player to reach the 100-game milestone for the club and this milestone should also be reached by Charlie Dixon while Karl Amon, Dan Houston and Sam Powell-Pepper will most likely fall just short. Steven Motlop needs one game for his half century and should be joined before season’s end by Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Todd Marshall and Scott Lycett.
Among the goal kickers, Robbie Gray and Travis Boak are already in the top ten and Charlie Dixon is only 29 goals away from joining them. There are another 12 players also in the top 100 goal kickers list, and with a potent attack and a low entry bar to being a top 100 goal scorer at Port Adelaide, there could be potentially four new members next year: Riley Bonner, Scott Lycett, Peter Ladhams and Mitch Georgiades.
And who knows, maybe recruit Orazio Fantasia could even join the club?