Port Adelaide veteran Justin Westhoff. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

JUSTIN Westhoff will depart Port Adelaide among the top-three players for AFL games in the club's history at season's end.

The veteran swingman informed teammates of his decision to retire on Thursday morning, a move that will come immediately after the Power's premiership tilt this year. 

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A best and fairest in 2018, Westhoff has played 280 AFL matches after being taken as a smokey at pick No.71 in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft.

Westhoff has played 12 matches this season and still has a role to play in the finals campaign despite being overlooked at selection in the past fortnight. 


"I'm not getting any younger – I'm 33 going on 34 – and it just seems to be the right time in my life to move on and try some new things," Westhoff said. 

"Having a young family, I don't want to miss much more of what my kids are doing, so it just felt like the right time.

"Obviously, I'm still looking forward to the rest of this season and hopefully some success at the end of it, but I'm happy with what I've done so far and with this being my last year. 

"To still be around and to have experienced the things I have over the 14 years, it's obviously going to be pretty tough to go, but it's something I'll look back on in years to come and I'll be pretty proud of, and to share that with my family and friends is really important to me. 

"It goes quickly but there's no way I would have believed you if back when I was drafted you would have told me I would still be around now and had the friendships I have made, so I feel pretty privileged." 


Equal with midfielder Travis Boak on 280 games, the pair sit behind only Kane Cornes in the club's record books in the AFL era. 

Coach Ken Hinkley praised Westhoff's role at the club that has included stints as a target in attack, defensive pillar and pinch-hit ruckman. 

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"Justin is a quiet and unassuming person who doesn't say a lot, but every word he utters is important," said Hinkley. 

"He has added value to our side with his ability to play a number of roles, and not once has he complained about being shifted week to week or even mid-game. 

"'Westy' is everything you wish all players could be – selfless, humble and reliable. He's a true team player. 

"He is so well respected and valued by his teammates and everyone associated with the club and it's a mark of his selfless character that he has elected to make a call now on his future so as to avoid any distraction for the team during finals."