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NEAFL: Ronke ready for more

Luke McManus  June 17, 2017 8:56 AM

Ronke ready to rumble Ben Ronke previews our NEAFL round 12 clash against Aspley in Brisbane this weekend.
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Ben Ronke (right) in action during the Sydney Swans' intra-club in February.

Sydney Swans rookie Ben Ronke believes he's turned the corner in what has been an injury-cruelled first season of AFL football.

Ronke enjoyed a seamless pre-season after arriving at the SCG via the 17th pick in the 2017 Rookie Draft before breaking a rib in the Sydney Swans' intra-club practice match at Marrickville's Henson Park.

He worked his way back to feature in one of the last full-scale match simulations of the summer only to re-break a rib on the same side of his body.

The Swans' medicos believed it was best to give the 19-year-old extra time to get his body right meaning he's spent the best part of five months in rehab.

Slowly but gradually he's built his strength and fitness back to earn a spot in the NEAFL Swans' Round 11 clash against GWS, albeit on managed game time.

He made the most of the opportunity to pull the red and white jumper on for the first time, collecting 16 disposals and booting two goals in the Swans' big win at Blacktown International Sportspark.

"To get back out there with the boys was a lot of fun, really enjoyed it," Ronke told SwansTV this week.

"I was lucky enough to get on a couple (of goals) and the boys got around me so that was a pretty good feeling.

"You can't do much with rib injuries except for wait so it was finally good to get back, it's been a long first half of the season but it's all ended up pretty good now.

"It'll be good to string a few games in a row together, get some match fitness back and continuity."

As part of his comeback, Ronke donned the fluro as coach Rhyce Shaw's runner for a couple of weeks as he continued to build a strong fitness base ahead of his selection in the 22.

With one game now under his belt, Ronke and co will turn their attention to Aspley for a big clash at South Pine Sports Complex in Queensland on Saturday.

The Hornets, preliminary finallists last season, sit fifth on the ladder with a 5-4 win-loss record but will still prove a tough challenge on their home deck.

They got the better of the Swans in the 2015 elimination finals before getting pipped by one point against NT Thunder in the Grand Final.

They'll be looking for a similar performance against the ladder-leaders who boast a wealth of AFL-listed talent.

"I'm sure they'll be a decent team so it'll be good for us to build on the form we've brought over the last month and stick to what we do best," Ronke added.

Kurt Tippett, on the back of his 22 disposal and three-goal performance against the Giants, will line up for his third NEAFL game of the season.

He's joined by experienced heads in Jeremy Laidler, Aliir Aliir, Ollie Florent, Brandon Jack among others who'll be gunning for an eighth consecutive win this season and extend the gap between themselves and Sydney Uni (also 8-1) at the top of the table.

NEAFL Round 12 - Aspley v Sydney Swans
South Pine Sports Complex, Aspley
Saturday, June 17 @ 12pm

FB

46. Sam Murray

21. Jack Maibaum

51. Jared Osborne**

HB

30. Tyrone Leonardis

32. Michael Talia

38. Colin O’Riordan

C

 27. Daniel Robinson

11. Jeremy Laidler

55. Mitch Rogers**

HF

 1. James Rose

36. Aliir Aliir

45. Sam Fisher

FF

 25. Ben Ronke

47. Toby Pink

33. Brandon Jack

Rucks

8. Kurt Tippett, 42. Robbie Fox, 6. Jordan Foote

Int.

13. Oliver Florent, 34. Jordan Dawson, 43. Lewis Melican, 50. Sam Wicks**

Em.

53. Sam Barkley**, 58. Hamish McDonald**

Ins & Outs

Ins

 43. Lewis Melican, 58 Hamish McDonald

Outs

 19. Shaun Edwards, 17. Darcy Cameron,

* Denotes senior emergency
** Denotes QBE Sydney Swans Academy top-up