MELBOURNE is thrilled to welcome Sammie Johnson back to the primary playing list for the upcoming AFL Women’s season. 

Johnson, a talented midfielder, was moved to the inactive list last season due to pregnancy, welcoming her son Luca with partner Harley in April this year. 

The 31-year-old has since been working through her rehabilitation and has officially been approved for a return-to-play.

Melbourne coach Mick Stinear commended Johnson on her positive, determined outlook.

"We are thrilled as a team to welcome Sammie back on to our active list and for her to be available to play," Stinear told Melbourne Media.

"It has been inspiring to watch her approach to rehab and the determination and investment shown. The work began well before Luca arrived and Sammie has continued to progress and is thriving as a mother and athlete. 

It has been a real joy having Luca join her at training and we are proud of the support the club has provided Sammie and Harley in her pursuit of playing at the highest level again.

"Sammie is a much-loved member of the team and her selfless approach, genuine care for others and pursuit of team success means this announcement will be well received by her peers." 

Johnson joined Melbourne in mid-2022 following a tremendous season with the Casey Demons.  

As captain, she racked up an impressive average of 18 touches across her twelve games in the VFLW competition, with five goals kicked for the season. For that effort, she was awarded Casey’s best and fairest later that year.

Johnson played three games for Melbourne in their Season 7 campaign, before announcing her pregnancy to the playing group in September.

She will make her return this Saturday, when the Demons take on Hawthorn in a practice match at Casey Fields. Fans can watch live from 2pm at the ground or stream the game on the club’s website.