Ben Ronke during Sydney Swans training at the SCG. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Ben Ronke during Sydney Swans training at the SCG. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Ronke caps meteoric rise with new Swans deal

THE Swans have wasted no time in locking away surprise packet Ben Ronke, signing him to a two-year deal until the end of 2020.

Rarely has a player come from so far back to have such a dramatic impact in just six AFL games.

Ronke's two goals on debut against Geelong gave encouragement but nobody, including Ronke, could foresee his matchwinning seven against Hawthorn in just his third game.

It's been an incredible rise for the 20-year-old, who spent a year in the Swans reserves battling injury after being taken with pick 17 in the 2017 rookie draft.

At last he as some security about his future after walking the tightrope of the one-year deals fringe players live on.

"It gives you a lot of confidence and peace of mind," Ronke told The Daily Telegraph.

"When you come in on the rookie list you are only guaranteed a year and then I had the one-year extension last year. Having two years does give you some security and take some pressure off knowing the club has faith in you to play your role."

 

Ben Ronke celebrates during his breakout game against Hawthorn.
Ben Ronke celebrates during his breakout game against Hawthorn.

 

His forward-50 pressure and tackling have been a feature of his first half a dozen games but his goals against the Hawks grabbed the attention of the AFL world.

Not even Sydney goalkicking greats Tony Lockett, Barry Hall or Lance Franklin could manage anything like Ronke's effort in just their third match.

Lockett achieved the feat in his 14th at St Kilda, Franklin his 40th at Hawthorn and Hall his 85th at the Saints.

It was a remarkable performance for someone playing on the MCG for the first time who needed to ask John Longmire for directions to get from the dressing rooms out onto the ground.

By the end of the night he was the talk of the AFL world.

"I don't get that sort of attention every week," Ronke said in a massive understatement.

"I had a few interviews after the game and felt like I was repeating myself a bit. The next match comes around very quickly so you have to move on and shift your focus. It was good to soak up a great win at the time but you look forward pretty quickly."

Ronke is smart enough to know seven goal hauls aren't likely to come around too often especially with Lance Franklin back in the team.

He's now focusing on what he was brought into the team for.

"I want to stick to the foundation of my game, which is forward pressure and bring that every week," Ronke said.

"I want to continue to get the respect from senior players and cement my position as a tackling small forward."

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