RETIRING Port Adelaide big man Justin Westhoff has ended his career as a finalist in the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award, announced at the Brownlow Medal count on Sunday night.
The award is named in honour of former Melbourne Football Club president and player Jim Stynes who died in 2012.
It is given to an AFL or AFLW player who best demonstrates the values of Jim Stynes.
Westhoff, 34, was nominated for his work with the Hutt St Centre, where he volunteers to assist the underprivileged access healthy meals, new clothes, accommodation and employment along with his work teaching school kids about healthy and sustainable eating.
It was the second time he was among the four finalists, having also been shortlisted in 2018.
The award was won by Richmond’s Bachar Houli for his work with young Islamic people through the Bachar Houli Foundation – an organisation he founded to promote social cohesion and harmony.
Houli receives $40,000 to be donated to the charity or community program of his choice.
Despite him not winning, Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas said he was “extremely proud” of Westhoff.
“Justin continues to demonstrate an untiring commitment to helping others in the community, and we see him as a leader among his peers, a role model for others and a high-quality ambassador for both our club and the Australian Football league,” he said.
“This is both because of his community work away from the club and because of the exemplary character he has displayed as a player on the field.”
The other finalists were Carlton AFLW player Tayla Harris (Carlton) for her work helping overcome violence against Women and Children with Our Watch and with advocating for women’s participation in sport, and Lauren Spark from the Western Bulldogs AFLW side for her voluntary work with her club’s community programs and with an initiative she founded to help female athletes get to the elite level in sport.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said the award continues to honour the legacy that Jim Stynes left throughout the community.
"Our game delivers us some of our country's greatest role models and the finalists of the 2020 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award showcases the impact the AFL can have in our community through a wide range of initiatives and causes," Mr McLachlan said.
"It is wonderful to acknowledge these four outstanding players and learn of their stories and celebrate their contribution to the community away from the football field.”
Westhoff’s teammate Travis Boak was a finalist in 2019 for his long-running support of the Childhood Cancer Association.
Past winners of the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award include GWS GIANTS' Stephen Coniglio (2019), Melbourne's Neville Jetta (2018), Port Adelaide's Jack Hombsch (2017), Geelong's Jimmy Bartel (2016), Carlton's Dennis Armfield (2015), West Coast Eagles' Beau Waters (2014), Gold Coast Suns' Zac Smith (2013) and Richmond's Daniel Jackson (2012).
Nominations for the award are formed from AFL Clubs and the AFL Players Association before the judging panel selected the four finalists.