WEST Coast midfielder Andrew Embley was a self-confessed lad when he first entered the AFL system - and it nearly cost him the chance to forge a glittering career.

Embley will bring the curtain down on his AFL journey when he plays his 250th and final match in Saturday night's clash with Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

The 32-year-old will be remembered as one of the club's best performers on the big stage, with his Norm Smith medal display in the 2006 grand final win over Sydney perhaps his greatest highlight.

Embley made the decision to retire several weeks ago after realising he could no longer produce match-winning efforts on a consistent basis.

The premiership wingman will leave the game with a host of fond memories.

But it could have been a vastly different story had Embley not wised up to himself in the early days.

Embley always had the talent to make a big name for himself in the AFL.

But his commitment to the game wavered somewhat in his first four seasons, before an honest and frank discussion with coach John Worsfold in 2002 changed his perspective.

"He was probably going at about 75 per cent of what he was capable of," Worsfold said on Wednesday.
"He was at that stage where the mates he'd grown up with weren't on AFL lists.

"They were living one lifestyle and he was trying to mix both, trying to be a bit of a lad with those guys and commit to footy as well.

"He had to work out that you can't half commit to AFL footy, you have to be all in.

"He came to that realisation himself and made the commitment to it, and then started seeing the rewards straight away."

Embley thanked the club for sticking by him.

"I knew that I was such a better player than what I showed in my first three or four years at the club," Embley said.

"I always feel like the easiest thing about AFL footy was getting drafted.

"The hardest thing was making a career out of it.

"I was drinking a little bit of alcohol at the time.

"I nearly blew a chance in the early days, and I'm very thankful I didn't go to another club or I wasn't de-listed and I was able to make a career at this club, which means a hell of a lot to me."

Fellow veteran Adam Selwood, who announced his own retirement earlier this month, hopes to overcome a quad injury to join Embley in one last hurrah against the Crows.