ADAM Goodes has retired as an icon of the football club after one of the greatest careers in the game, Sydney Swans coach John Longmire says.

The dual Brownlow medallist told his teammates and the Swans' support staff of his decision to finish up - after 372 games – behind closed doors shortly after their 26-point semi-final loss to North Melbourne that ended their season with two consecutive finals defeats.

Close friend and former Swans champion Michael O'Loughlin joined Goodes and younger brother Brett in a touching embrace just minutes after he'd announced his playing days were done.

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An emotional Longmire said Goodes shared the news with his usual class.

"I was a bit emotional but he was fine, he handled it really well, so he'll take a deep breath now and he needs it," Longmire said post-match.

"(He) just (said) how he's been able to enjoy 18 years at a great football club, and the relationships he's been able to establish over a long time, and how everyone means so much to him.

"It's probably hard to imagine life without the footy club but he'll be right, he's pretty successful in whatever he does.

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"It's probably been pretty settled in his mind for a while, he's kept it to himself really well because it's never really been about Adam, he's wanted to make sure it was about the season and trying to be competitive as long as we could.

It's been a trying season for Goodes who has been repeatedly booed by opposition fans for most of the year, despite pleas from the Swans, the AFL, and the champ's peers to end the behaviour.

It forced Goodes to miss the Swans' round 18 clash with Adelaide while he took personal leave, and Longmire paid tribute to the two-time premiership star for his ability to handle himself with dignity under such extreme emotional pressure in 2015.

"He's been absolutely superb in the face of some really tough times, and the way he's been able to handle himself and go about his business, yet still say the things that he feels and get that balance as good as what he's got has been a real credit to him," Longmire said.

"It's been tough but he's managed to come through it really well and by no means has his career been defined on what's happened at different times this season.

"His career has been defined by the type of player he's been for a long time."

The retirement of Goodes robs the Swans of plenty of experience, but in true understated Longmire fashion, he said the 35-year-old would be replaced as the next generation of youngsters takes the club into the future.

"As great as what he is and has been for this football club, football club's move forward and that's always been the case," Longmire said.

"No matter how many great players we've had retire, and we've had a few over the past few years, none as great as 'Goodesy' with no disrespect to the others.

"He's been an absolute icon of this footy club, and a superstar of the game.”

Adam Goodes embraces Lindsay Thomas after his final game on Saturday night. Picture: Getty Images. 

Defender Rhyce Shaw was carried from the ground after announcing his retirement before the finals series, and was lavish in his praise of Goodes and his contribution to the game.

Goodes farewells the competition as the Swans’ games record holder, and kicked 464 goals to sit fourth on the goalkickers list for the club behind Bob Pratt, O'Loughlin and Barry Hall.

"He told the boys and everyone got quite emotional as you do when one of the greatest players of all time hangs up the boots," Shaw said.

"Adam is one of the great people I've ever met in footy. He's done a lot for the Sydney Swans, the AFL and the community at large and we're really sad to see him go.

"I'm sure his work in the community's not finished and his legacy will live on forever."

Adam Goodes' career
Games: 372
Goals: 464
Premierships: 2 (2005, 2012)
Brownlow Medals: 2 (2003, 2006)
Career Brownlow votes: 162 including 30 best-afield performances (to end of 2014 season)
All-Australian: 4 (2003, 2006, 2009, 2011)
Sydney Swans co-captain: 2009-2012
* Goodes holds the VFL/AFL games record for the Sydney Swans, and has played more matches than any other indigenous player.
* Goodes also won the 1999 Rising Star Award, was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century and captained Australia in the International Rules Series.