Jason Johnson, Ramanauskas retire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jason Johnson, Ramanauskas retire

25/08/2008 06:15:42 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights says Adam Ramanauskas will leave a "lasting legacy" at the club after the courageous Bomber joined his premiership teammate Jason Johnson in announcing his retirement from AFL football.

The pair will hang up their boots following Sunday's Telstra Dome clash with St Kilda, joining former Lion Mal Michael into retirement.

Ramanauskas was still a teenager when he played a key part in Essendon's 2000 premiership success.

But the fleet-footed 27-year-old, who has notched 133 games since making his debut in 1999, will be forever remembered for his brave battle with cancer and his lion-hearted return to top level football.

"He is a champion of this club, both as a person and as a player, and he leaves a lasting legacy with his premiership and work to help establish the annual Call to Arms campaign and Clash for Cancer game," Knights said.

"Rama is a courageous person and is incredibly well thought of by the playing group, coaches and staff. I hope he continues to be involved with the club in the future." Johnson, a two times best and fairest winner and All-Australian midfielder, has been plagued by injuries in 2008.

After playing the first two games, Johnson was forced to the sidelines and only made his senior return last week, when he gathered 26 disposals in Essendon's 46-point loss to Western Bulldogs.

The 30-year-old veteran has played 183 games for the club in a career spanning 12 years.

"Jason has had to overcome a number of injury set-backs this year but he has just kept persevering and has come back into the senior side, which shows his character," Knights said.

Ramanauskas thanked the club for their support during his battle with illness and said his decision to stand aside was to allow more playing opportunities to Essendon's fledgling player group.

"I just found myself in the position that I didn't want to hold the club back," Ramanauskas said.

"I could have maybe toughed it out another year or two but who's to say I would have been happy doing that.

"With the situation I've been in over the last few years I really wanted to give this year the best crack that I could. I feel at stages that I've been OK and I feel at stages I haven't been so good.

"I'm really happy with my decision and the support the club has given me, especially over my journey, they've been nothing short of amazing.

"For a club to do that for an individual like myself - I'm just so appreciative." Tagger Damien Peverill has been told by coach Matthew Knights he will be de-listed by Essendon at season's end but the 29-year-old hopes to continue his career elsewhere.

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