Alex Johnson (Australian footballer)

Alex Johnson (born 2 March 1992) is a former professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Sydney Swans in the Australian Football League (AFL). He played in the team that won the 2012 AFL Grand Final. He had the potential to be a great player before the start of a run-in with injuries, which prevented him from playing at the highest level for about 6 years.

Alex Johnson
Johnson playing for Sydney in July 2018
Personal information
Full name Alex Johnson
Date of birth (1992-03-02) 2 March 1992
Original team(s) Oakleigh Chargers (TAC Cup)
Draft No. 57, 2010 national draft
Height 193 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Position(s) Half-back flank
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2011–2018 Sydney 47 (1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2018.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,


Originally from Victoria, and educated at Xavier College, Johnson played under-18s football for Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup, serving as captain in his final season.[1] He was drafted by the Sydney Swans in the No. 57 selection in the 2010 AFL Draft, and made his first appearance at the senior AFL level early in the 2011 AFL season,[2] debuting in Round 3 against West Coast[3] and maintaining his position for the entire year.

Playing as the third tall defender in the side, Johnson performed his role wonderfully well and exceeded all expectations of him set by the coaching staff, ably filling the role left by retiring champion Craig Bolton early in the year. His poise and strong one on one contesting were the standout features of his game throughout 2011 and he also improved his rebound and attacking play as the season wore on. Johnson went on to be a key player in the Sydney Swans' AFL Premiership-winning side, playing every game in the regular season and the finals series. His ability to play as a key defender and professional approach to the game saw him awarded with the 2012 Swans Rising Star Award in what was his second season.[4]

After the 2012 premiership, Johnson suffered repeated knee injuries, and did not make another senior appearance for Sydney for almost six years. His run of injuries began when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Sydney's 2013 preseason match against the Gold Coast Suns. He underwent two knee reconstructions during 2013 – a traditional reconstruction in April and a LARS reconstruction in July. He returned to the field for the Sydney reserves in early 2014, but tore the ligament again in his first game back. It was not until September 2016 that Johnson was even able to return to running laps after this second injury, as it took a further three reconstruction surgeries between 2014 and 2016 before his knee successfully healed due to various complications and infections.[5][6] Johnson remained on the Sydney playing list through this time, and performed an assistant coaching role with the Sydney reserves;[7] and, although delisted by Sydney at the conclusion of the 2016 season, he was redrafted by the club as a rookie during the 2017 AFL Rookie Draft.[8]

Johnson returned to the field for the Sydney reserves in the NEAFL in July 2017, his first competitive game at any level for more than three years after his previous game.[9] He played the rest of the season in the NEAFL, before a groin injury over the 2017/18 offseason again delayed his return to senior football. Johnson finally returned to play his first senior AFL match since the 2012 AFL Grand Final in Round 20, 2018 against Collingwood, almost six years since his previous game. Unfortunately, he suffered another knee injury the following week, this time rupturing the ACL in his previously undamaged right knee, ending his season and career with the Swans.[10] He was delisted by Sydney at the end of the 2018 season, having played 47 games over eight years.[11]

In 2019, Johnson returned to Melbourne and joined the Northern Blues in the Victorian Football League as a player and development coach.[12]


Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season[13]
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2011 Sydney 3420101907726789340.
2012 Sydney 342504209142351108650.
2013 Sydney 340
2014 Sydney 340
2015 Sydney 340
2016 Sydney 20
2017 Sydney 20
2018 Sydney 2200127191250.
Career 47 1 4 399 219 618 197 99 0.0 0.1 8.9 4.9 13.7 4.4 2.2


  1. Megan Hustwaite (21 May 2010). "Skipper's example inspires Chargers' Alex Johnson". Leader. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. "Alex Johnson Player Profile, Sydney Swans". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  3. Alex Johnson's playing statistics from AFL Tables
  4. Paolucci, Tanya (8 October 2012). "Alex on the rise".
  5. Adam Curley (8 February 2016). "'Why can't I?': Swans defender Alex Johnson using Daniel Menzel's return as inspiration". Australian Football League. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  6. Brendan Foster (8 September 2016). "Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson runs first lap in 906 days". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  7. Eliza Sewell (26 May 2016). "Luckless Swan Alex Johnson to have fifth knee reconstruction but he's not giving up on his dream". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  8. Edwards, Nat (31 October 2017). "Is this the end of the road for luckless Swan?". Bigpond. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  9. Caden Helmers (1 July 2017). "Alex Johnson makes inspirational return for Sydney Swans in NEAFL against Canberra Demons". The Canberra Times. Canberra, ACT. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  10. "Sydney Swans' Alex Johnson 'shattered' as scans confirm sixth knee injury in as many years". ABC. 14 August 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  11. Neil Cordy (14 September 2018). "Sydney Swans confirm Alex Johnson's contract will not be renewed". Daily Telegraph. Sydney, NSW. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  12. "VFL SEASON PREVIEW: Northern Blues". Victorian Football League. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  13. Alex Johnson's player profile at AFL Tables
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