The West

Embley pulls on boots for pal

One of the most endearing images from West Coast's premiership win at the MCG in 2006 will have a special encore at Maddington's Harmony Fields next Saturday.

Minutes after winning the Norm Smith Medal as the grand final's best player, Eagles star Andrew Embley shared a passionate embrace over the fence of Australia's most famous sporting ground with his long-time friend Andrew Catalano.

Now, 16 years after they were teammates in Trinity College's Alcock Cup victory over Aquinas, Embley will come out of retirement to help celebrate Catalano's 200th match for Maddington in the club's opening game of the WA Amateur Football League B-grade season.

Former Eagles midfielder Daniel Kerr, who with Quinten Lynch was an Aquinas opponent in that 1998 school clash, will also play for Maddington in the match against Kelmscott.

Embley said retirement had been a little too kind to him in terms of preparing for a football game but Catalano had given him "no choice".

"A milestone for your good mate - it's something I'm looking forward to," Embley said.

"But I'll be far from my Norm Smith best. I think it will be out of the goal square with not much defensive pressure. The coach is dreaming if he wants me to play in the midfield."

Embley said the chance snap of him hugging Catalano, which was published nationally, provided a lasting memory of their friendship.

"Andrew actually hired a car and drove over for the game with four mates," he said.

"Obviously, I got him tickets but I didn't know where in the stadium he was sitting.

"So to do the lap, going around waving to lots of people, and then to see one of your best mates . . . it was a good little hug and fantastic we got such a good shot of it, too."

Catalano was one of the shortest players to have played in the WAFL after a short career with Perth that included him winning the Jack Clarke Medal for the best player in the colts in 1999 and the reserves' Prendergast Medal in 2001. He cherished his MCG moment with his mate.

"Obviously we all love our footy, so you can't describe it to see your mate do something like that," Catalano said.

"You dream about that growing up and then to watch your mate do it is unbelievable.

"It's probably one of the best trips I've had going over there and to get a photo like that to remember it is pretty special. I think his wife (Rayne) was a bit upset it wasn't her in the photo - but she'll get over it."

Past Maddington premiership coach and TV commentator Dennis Cometti will be a guest speaker at the club for a public function on Tuesday night.

The West Australian

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