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Williams, Durante join Krishna in Phoenix exodus

David Williams celebrates after scoring a goal during Wellington Phoenix's A League win against Newcastle Jets.
David Williams has chosen not to renew his contract with Wellington Phoenix.

The post-Mark Rudan dismantling of the Wellington Phoenix has gone to another level, with David Williams and Andrew Durante announcing their departures from the club.

The most capped player in A-League history with 313 appearances, Durante's leadership had become part of the Phoenix fabric but is joining an exodus that began when Rudan announced his departure two months ago.

Rudan, who will be the inaugural coach of Western United, is already confirmed to have Phoenix players Filip Kurto and Max Burgess on his books for next season.

It appears centre-back Durante, 37, will join them, spurning an offer to stay in Wellington where he had been offered an expanded off-field role.

In announcing his Phoenix departure on social media, Durante did nothing to quell reports he would join the Geelong-based expansion club.

"I have an opportunity to challenge myself in a new environment, to take on a new adventure with my wife and kids, closer to our family," Durante said.

"For me, life is about taking on new challenges, to test yourself in places that may make you uncomfortable, to experience new things and to grow as a person.

"Not everyone will agree with it, not everyone will see my view on things, but that's OK. That's football and that's life."

- Jukic: What the A-League must do in the offseason

It marks the end of an era in Wellington, which Durante made his home after leaving the Newcastle Jets in 2008 and performed at a consistently high level for more than a decade.

His three daughters were all born in New Zealand and Durante proved his loyalty by turning out 24 times for the All Whites.

Phoenix officials couldn't be contacted after losing another battle at the negotiating table, having bid farewell last month to star forward and Johnny Warren Medal winner Roy Krishna.

On Tuesday morning they confirmed the other half of their potent 2018-19 strike force, former Socceroos forward Williams, has exited after having bagged 11 goals last season.

New Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay faces a hefty rebuilding job, with four visa slots to be filled and an entire front line to replace.

He can at least call on experience at the back in Durante's absence, with veteran former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor having committed to next season and now boasting strong credentials to captain the Kiwi club.

Talay's first two signings were New Zealand international goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and Australian teenage left-back Walter Scott.

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