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Swans delist injury-plagued defender

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While I am disappointed, my passion still remains to play football at the highest level
Alex Johnson

LUCKLESS Sydney defender Alex Johnson wants to continue his AFL career and has rejected an off-field role with the club after being delisted by the Swans.

Johnson underwent his sixth knee reconstruction after rupturing the ACL in his right knee against Melbourne at the MCG last month and will miss most of next season.

It was cruel blow for the 2012 premiership player, who had fought his way back to senior level and returned against Collingwood at the SCG the week before, after five surgeries on his left knee.

It was his first game at the highest level since being part of the Swans' famous 2012 flag. 

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The talented defender had also undergone over a dozen separate operations after serious infections continued to attack his body after surgery.

In what must have been an agonising decision for the Swans, the 26-year-old was not offered a new contract to continue next season, but the club did offer him a non-playing role to keep him involved.

Johnson believes he can make it back to senior level again however, and has decided to explore his options.

Swans coach John Longmire said despite his numerous setbacks Johnson made a massive impression in his 47 games for the Swans.

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"Alex has been an incredible servant of our club. He has shown unbelievable resilience and he's a much-admired player among his teammates, coaches, staff and wider AFL community," he said.

"Alex's perseverance and strength is among the best I've seen in the game and it was a real credit to him that he was able to fight his way back to playing after so many setbacks.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but the reality is he faced another extended stint on the sideline.

"We thank Alex for the invaluable contribution he made to our club and the impact he had on so many of us and wish him all the very best for the future."

Johnson was obviously devastated by the decision and remains committed to finding a new home.

It's believed he is considering a move back to his home state of Victoria in a bid to continue his career.

"I would like to thank the Sydney Swans Football Club for the opportunities they have given me over the past eight years," he said.

"I have made life-long friends and lived out my childhood dream of playing AFL, including the premiership in 2012.

"Although it has been a very difficult last six years, I will be forever grateful that the club stuck by me and gave me every opportunity to get back and play at the highest level.

"While I am disappointed, my passion still remains to play football at the highest level."