After playing his 150th game on the weekend, Sydney Swans co-captain Josh Kennedy reflects on Dane Rampe’s AFL journey.
The first team meeting Dane Rampe attended at the Sydney Swans he was running late to.
‘Ramps’ rocked up late with long, blonde hair, perfect white teeth and not a worry in the world.
He came to the club as a relaxed 23-year-old and left an impression on the senior players. We were asking, ‘Who is this kid? He’s got a bit to learn.’
That impression changed quickly when we hit the track for our first time trial. Ramps finished in the top three and set the standard for the rest of his career.
He’s the type of player who pushes himself incredibly hard on the track but is still able to find the important balance between football and managing his life outside of the game.
He settled into life at the Swans really well and quickly changed people’s first impressions of him.
Ramps joined Sydney as a mature-age recruit and his growth as a player and leader has been nothing short of incredible.
It’s amazing to think that he had potential opportunities prior to the Swans, but that it took recruiters time to realise how competitive he is. That trait has been on show since he arrived at the club and his willingness to create a contest and strive to improve has resulted in him becoming one of the best backman in the competition.
Ramps is the type of guy who genuinely cares about the people that make up our football club and wants to get to know them beyond their day-to-day roles. If you asked anyone at the Swans who they got along with the best, it’d be Dane Rampe.
He enjoys getting out and having fun but also has a more serious side. He has a slight case of OCD where he needs everything around him to be perfect. Whether it’s the breakfast, lunch or dinner table, his home or even his moustache prior to the bounce – everything in Ramps’ life needs to be in order!
It’s part of the reason he’s become such a successful footballer. He works hard and knows how to get the best out of himself.
I often joke with him and ‘Horse’ (coach John Longmire) in our reviews about Horse’s favourite saying: ‘how do you think Ramps feels here’.
It’s said like clockwork anytime we don’t man up or the opposition get an easy entry inside their forward 50.
We’ll often have a joke with Ramps and Horse about this but the truth is, and something the team all admire about Ramps is, his ability to be able to compete on the last line, week in, week out against any opponent.
He’s widely respected in the football world now for the way he conducts himself and how he’s able to win those contests.
It’s grown beyond the Swans in recent years but he’s always been respected inside our four walls for the way he goes about it. Ramps has an unwavering competitive drive.
Over the course of your career there are certain players who you will always remember walking down the race with because you look in their eye and you know what you’re going to get.
Ramps is one of them.