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Menzel takes young Swans under wing

Ronke press conference - March 8, 2018 Ben Ronke addressed the media today ahead of our JLT2 match against Gold Coast in Lismore this Sunday.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: Dan Menzel handballs during a Sydney Swans AFL training session at Bat & Ball Oval on November 26, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Recruited Sydney Swans forward Daniel Menzel training during his first pre-season in red and white.
For someone who hasn’t been able to train a lot Dan's had a massive impact, and it’s been really good to soak up knowledge around the goals from someone like him.
Ben Ronke

Sydney Swans recruit Daniel Menzel won’t take part in Sunday’s JLT Community Series fixture as he continues on the road back from groin surgery undergone in December.

But young Sydney forward Ben Ronke says the former Geelong Cat has had a “massive impact” on the Swans’ fresh faces inside 50 in his first pre-season at the club. 

Forward Menzel, ex-Geelong defender Jackson Thurlow and former North Melbourne midfielder Ryan Clarke all signed with the Swans at last October’s trade period, with Menzel bringing to the club 73 games of experience and a record boasting 136 goals.

Ronke told the media ahead of Sunday’s pre-season duel with the Gold Coast Suns in Lismore that 27-year-old Menzel had already planted his mark on the club.

“He’s been unreal. For someone who hasn’t been able to train a lot he’s had a massive impact, and it’s been really good to soak up knowledge around the goals from someone like Dan. He’s been great around the club and we’re looking forward to having him out on the track once he’s completed his rehab,” Ronke said.

“He’s just got a knack for kicking goals. I’m not really sure how he does it but I’m sure when he gets out on the track that’ll come out.”

Ronke says he’s looking to launch into the 2019 campaign off the back of his breakthrough 2018 season.

The 21-year-old Calder Cannons product made his AFL debut in Sydney’s thrilling 17-point victory over Geelong in Round 6 last year, and he finished his season with 18 games and 24 goals beside his name.

The highlight of his season was the seven-goal haul he snared under Friday night lights at the MCG against Hawthorn in Round 8, which earned him an AFL Rising Star nomination and a perfect three Brownlow Medal votes.

“I’m trying to take as much confidence as I can from my 2018 season,” Ronke said.

“I’ve had no injuries so far this pre-season and I’m feeling pretty fit, so I’ll try to take this good momentum into the season ahead.”

But the current focus of Ronke and the Swans centres on Sunday’s game against the Suns at Lismore’s Oakes Oval.

Sydney fell by 24 points to GWS in Blacktown last Friday in its opening JLT Community Series hit-out.

Ronke said the match against Gold Coast shaped as an important challenge.

“We’re always out there to win and play ‘Swans footy’,” Ronke said.

“Last week we were a bit patchy, so we’ll try to make it a more consistent performance over four quarters and hopefully come away with the win.”