Sydney Swans co-captain Dane Rampe made so many trips to the stage at the Club Champion Dinner on Tuesday night that master of ceremonies Craig Willis joked he stamp his name on the lectern.
“I’m getting a little sign made here that just says: This is my lectern. Dane Rampe. Leave alone.,” Willis laughed.
Rampe arrived at The Star as a hot favourite for the Bob Skilton Medal and left with not only the pinnacle honour of the night but a raft of other accolades, collecting the Players’ Player award, the Best Clubman award and Life Membership for reaching the 150-game milestone.
The acclaimed defender reflected on the night with immense pride.
“It’s definitely nice recognition for the year you’ve had,” Rampe told SwansTV.
“You don’t set out to achieve these things and to achieve these awards tonight is something I haven’t really had time to comprehend. But I know heading home tonight I’ll be pretty overwhelmed, and I’ll look back on this night with incredible memories.”
Rampe dominated the Bob Skilton Medal count, recording 581 votes to eclipse runner-up George Hewett (461) and third-placed Luke Parker (458).
The 29-year-old began his awards season early when he was named as an emergency player for the greatest NSW team of all time in May, before landing a spot in the 2019 40-man All Australian squad.
Rampe considered it a tremendous honour to win a medal named in tribute to Bob Skilton: an Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend, AFL Team of the Century member, triple Brownlow medallist, Bloods Legend, Swans Team of the Century captain, nine-time Club Champion, three-time club leading goal-kicker and former Swans coach.
“It’s a little bit surreal, to be honest,” Rampe said.
“I’ve got to know Bobby a little bit over the journey. He comes into the rooms after the games and visits us when we’re down in Melbourne.
“It’s probably something I can’t really put into words at the moment, but it’s something I’ll hold incredibly close to my heart.”
Rampe will also cherish joining a host of star teammates on the esteemed list of Bob Skilton Medal winners, including retiring club icons Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack.
McVeigh, a 325-game great, was awarded the gleaming gold in 2008 and 2013, while 256-match champion Jack took home the gong in 2010.
“It’s an incredible honour,” Rampe said.
“To be alongside names like Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh, Luke Parker, Kieren Jack – names we’ve honoured tonight and some who are at the end of their career – is truly humbling and something I’m going to treasure forever.”