He’s a mere pup compared to many of his teammates but dashing Swans defender Dane Rampe has already got much more senior colleagues licked in one aspect of the AFL longevity stakes.
Going into Saturday’s home semi-final against North Melbourne, Rampe has played 70 games in a row, the longest current streak of any Swan.
That might come as a surprise given he’s just in his third season and how many veterans Sydney have.
Injures to colleagues apart it’s an indication of the increasing value of the versatile defender, who can shackle talls and smalls and is sure to be given a major assignment on one of North’s many dangerous forwards at ANZ Stadium this weekend.
Dropped after his debut game in the opening round of the 2013 season, Rampe was recalled in round four and hasn’t missed a match since.
“I knew I hadn’t missed many, but that’s good to hear,” Rampe said when informed about his club-leading streak.
“I cramped at the start of the third quarter and coming off the anticipation of the debut, I probably didn’t perform as well as I would have liked that first round.
“But at that stage I was just enjoying being part of an AFL environment and an AFL team.
“Once I got my chance again, I wasn’t going to let that slip.”
He has racked up personal best single game marks in all major statistical categories this year and has already amassed career-best season tallies for disposals and marks.
Rampe was recently rewarded with a new four-year contract, something he could never have dreamt of as he took a more circuitous route to the AFL than most of his contemporaries.
Born little more than a torpedo kick away from the SCG, boyhood Swans fan Rampe played in the VFL and the local Sydney competition before catching a break with the Swans as a rookie draft selection in 2013.
As recently as the Swans last premiership season of 2012, Rampe was still attending games as a supporter, not knowing that within a year he would be wearing their colours.
“I still have to pinch myself every now and then just to realise how far I’ve come,” Rampe said.
“It’s a reward for all my effort and I give myself a pat on the back every now and then just to keep me going and appreciate where I’ve come from.”