It’s been widely reported that Justin is a relatively quiet person, and I suppose in my early career I did see him that way, but he was also a really level-headed, wise person for his age back then.
The way he thought and spoke about things was always in a way that was beneficial to the team.
Even when it wasn’t about football, Westy was a wise-head on young shoulders.
As he got older it was personified even more.
In my early career I didn’t have too much to do with him because I was a defender and he played forward but as the years went on he would grow to have a relationship with us because he spent so much time working in defence to help us out.
There were countless times where he basically saved your skin as a defender. You were always counting on him.
He’d pop up just when you thought your opponent was going to take a mark and you’d think, ‘Gee mate, thank god you were there.’
Westy did that over and over.
He was always thrown into different positions and whatever it was Westy gave his all and would get the job done for the team.
One thing that was frustrating is the perception from the outside that he was laconic. Westy was one of the fittest and most hard working guys at Port Adelaide.
It used to frustrate all of us that he was labelled with that tag from the outside because internally we knew that he was anything but that.
Westy and I always had a good connection on the field but off the field we grew to be quite close, as he was with many people at the club.
He’s a very likeable person and incredibly humble.
What I respect the most about Justin is that he does everything with no fuss. He never complains about anything and does so many things that you wouldn’t even know about.
He’s never done anything for recognition, he does it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do.
Westy has a really strong set of morals and it’s something I really respect about him.
Every year he organises a group of boys to do the Walk a Mile for the Hutt St Centre and it was always something that we looked forward to as a group because you could see how much it meant to him.
Whenever Westy asked you to do something you just did it because that is the kind of person he is and everyone really respects him.
Often Westy was considered quiet but there was one golf trip we had to Tanunda in the Barossa Valley where he is from that stands out in my memories.
After a couple of beers he really started to open up, which was nice to see.
He was certainly running the show at the local Valley Hotel.
Like I said, he’s usually pretty quiet but after a few beers that night he became quite the joke and was letting everyone know that he’s the wise, old bloke around the club.
Westy was always someone who was easy to talk to.
Often feedback in football can be negative or about what you’re not doing well, but he delivered feedback in a way that people responded to.
He was always happy to sit down and go through things in a relaxed kind of way that I think, at times, received a better response out of the younger guys who were trying to find their way.
As the years went on I loved having a chat to him about non-football things as well.
Particularly the last few years I loved talking to him about his business.
I’m studying design and Westy asked me to help him out with a few design elements.
To work with him on the Forage Supply Co. and see what he’s been doing was unbelievable.
His open-mindedness and ability to educate younger generations about sustainable living is so impressive.
It was a really fun experience to be able to work on something outside of football with him.
For me, as the years went on Westy became someone who I could really talk about life with and I looked up to him because of that.
He has a beautiful family and much of his wisdom and maturity has come from his wife Bec and three beautiful kids Body, Tully and Piper.
Now that I’m no longer at Port Adelaide I miss turning to him at the start of each day at training when I know he’s been up early getting the kids organised and asking, ‘You’re getting too old for this caper, aren’t ya, Hoff?’