Sydney young gun Ben Ronke made quite the impression on the AFL world when he booted seven goals against Hawthorn earlier this season to earn a Rising Star nomination – and now a contract extension has again given Swans fans reason to rejoice.
The lively forward has signed a two-year contract extension and is set to remain in red and white until at least the end of 2020.
The 20-year-old grew up in Essendon in Melbourne’s north-west and as a kid lived and breathed the Bombers.
But after inking a new deal with Sydney, Ronke says life at the Swans couldn’t be better.
“It’s an honour to be able to sign on,” Ronke told SwansTV.
“Ever since I’ve been at this Club I’ve just wanted to stay. I’ve felt at home since I got here. The playing group make you feel like it’s where you want to be and I’m absolutely thrilled.”
The 2017 season was Ronke’s first in Sydney and in 2018 the Calder Cannons product has hit his straps.
He was thrown his first senior guernsey for Sydney’s clash with Geelong in Round 6 and made an instant impact, finishing with 15 touches, seven tackles and two goals.
Overlooked at the 2016 National Draft, Ronke bounced back to sign with Sydney at the Rookie Draft later in the month.
Although he didn’t land an AFL contract until his second shot, Ronke says all players are treated equally once inside Swans walls.
“It’s a place where you all come and everyone’s on the same playing field and you’ve got to earn your own respect,” Ronke said.
“Whether you’re the first draft pick or the last it doesn’t really matter.
“I’ve loved trying to win as much respect as I can and trying to work hard and it’s great to get recognised with a contract extension.”
Ronke made his first appearance for the Swans reserves side in Round 11, 2017 when he returned via the NEAFL from two broken ribs.
Almost 12 months later, Ronke is establishing himself in the senior side’s youthful forward set-up and says he has his experienced teammates to thank.
“It’s handy having Kieren Jack as my official mentor,” Ronke said.
“He plays a similar role to me in the side and if I have half the career he’s had I’ll know I’ve done all right.
“It’s great to have him around to soak up advice from and it’s also helpful sitting around players like Dane Rampe, Luke Parker and Lance Franklin, who you just want to soak up as much information off.
“My goal going forward is to just keep working hard and keep developing myself and try to cement my position in the side. I want to keep earning the respect of the senior players and keep playing my role.”