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Tough Cat departs after years of injury

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AFL 2016 Second Qualifying Final - Geelong v Hawthorn
Josh Cowan's career at Geelong is over

GEELONG small forward Josh Cowan will leave the club, after failing to secure a new contract for 2018.

The oft-injured Cat played just 16 games in eight seasons, and after another year crueled by injury, Cowan has been told he can explore free agency with another club.

The 26-year-old managed just the first two matches of the year before being hampered by an Achilles issue.

He has also been sidelined by serious hamstring injuries since being drafted with pick No.56 in 2009.

"Josh's great character and resilience held him in high regard with his teammates and coaches over his eight years at Geelong," Cats football manager Simon Lloyd said. 

"Josh has and will continue to be greatly respected by everyone at the club and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours." 

Cowan never played more games in a season than the nine he managed in 2016.

Geelong has also seen Tom Lonergan and Andrew Mackie depart, with the pair retiring after the club's preliminary final loss to Adelaide.

The futures of free agents Daniel Menzel (unrestricted) and Steven Motlop (restricted) remain uncertain, while favourite son Gary Ablett has asked to be traded back to the Cats.