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Rampe's never-say-die rise

Co-captains press conference - 14 December, 2018 Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe addressed the media after being named the 2019 co captains earlier this morning.
I’m incredibly proud and humbled to now be leading such a great club, one I grew up supporting and one I had so much respect for from the outside.
Dane Rampe

Defender Dane Rampe defied the odds long ago in bouncing back from a string of Draft rejections to become an elite AFL backman, but last week’s co-captaincy appointment again reminded the masses of the never-say-die journey the Sydney local has conquered.

Rampe was last Friday announced as a 2019 co-captain alongside Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker, with the Swans returning to a three-way co-captaincy model for the first time since 2009 and 2010.

Despite Rampe’s well-documented luckless run at the Draft, the former rookie has stacked up 138 AFL games, is an All Australian defender and is regularly assigned to the opposition’s most destructive key forward.

The 28-year-old's rise to co-captaincy has again underlined his clawing fight from the wilderness to stardom – and he said the appointment meant the world to him.

“It’s a dream come true. I’m incredibly humbled and proud. I haven’t really had a time to reflect on it, but I’ll probably do that over the Christmas break with family and friends,” Rampe said.

“I’m incredibly proud and humbled to now be leading such a great club, one I grew up supporting and one I had so much respect for from the outside.

“I now get to be a part of that, help drive what we’ve already created and put my own little spin on things, alongside Josh and Luke, and hopefully continue things on an upward trend.”

The Swans last week also finalised the remainder of their 2019 leadership group, with Jarrad McVeigh, Nick Smith, Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and Tom Papley rounding out the rank.

Parker last week said it was hoped the leadership group’s blend of experience and youth would bridge the gap between Sydney’s elder statesmen and youngsters.

And McVeigh is 33 years of age and has played 319 AFL games, while QBE Sydney Swans Academy product Mills is 21 and has 55 matches beside his name.

Rampe is also pleased to have former Swans co-captains McVeigh and Kieren Jack by his side as he turns the page on a new chapter.

“I’m really excited about the group we’ve got at the club at the moment – and that extends to the panel of coaches as well,” Rampe said. 

“I couldn’t be more confident going forward with two great co-captains in Josh and Luke, as well as Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh who have been there and done that before. So I’m ready to go.”

The Swans have taken on a co-captaincy structure for 12 of the 14 seasons since claiming the 2005 premiership.

It’s seen names like Adam Goodes, Brett Kirk, Jude Bolton and Leo Barry grace Swans history – and Rampe says not only were many of Sydney’s former co-captains childhood idols of his, McVeigh is a current-day beacon of light.

“I was a big fan of Kirky and Jude Bolton was also a big fan of mine growing up – and I had the privilege of playing with him,” Rampe said.

“But most importantly, Jarrad McVeigh is one of my best mates, he’s been an unbelievable mentor and I feel absolutely privileged to have learned off him – and I’m sure the boys feel the same way. He’s still around the club, he’ll hopefully be able to guide me a bit in this co-captaincy role because I’ll need it, but I’m really exciting I’ve got him at my disposal.”