DANE Rampe learned plenty of lessons during his unusual path to the AFL but none have provided the Sydney Swans co-captain with a grounding in how to handle becoming a national talking point.
Rampe will celebrate his 150th AFL game on Sunday when the Swans host West Coast at the SCG, joining childhood idol Brett Kirk in being one of the club’s greatest rookie-list success stories.
Yet Rampe’s first year as skipper has been marred by two Round 8 gaffes.
The 29-year-old was given a suspended fine of $1000 for climbing a post during an after-the-siren finish, while the league docked him $10,000 (half suspended) for telling an umpire he “talks like a little girl” during the same May 10 game.
“It’s been interesting. I’m sick of seeing myself in the news or (people) talking about me,” Rampe told reporters on Thursday.
“I made my bed so I have to lie in it now.
“It was a little bit disappointing … that (it) overshadowed a really good team win.
“Hopefully it’s all said and done and I can just focus on my footy now.”
Rampe wouldn’t be drawn on what he told coach John Longmire and teammates in the aftermath of the saga, reiterating it was a “poor choice of words and couple of brain fades” that he’ll learn from.
“There were bits and pieces (of stick from teammates). I think I was copping enough, they just let me go about my business,” the versatile backman said.
Rampe’s journey to the 150-game milestone has been different to most, having started when the Swans fan sprinted onto the SCG in 1999 after Tony Lockett broke the league’s goal-kicking record.
The Sydneysider opted for a VFL stint after completing school, desperate to impress recruiters, but returned home aged 21 with the belief his dream was over.
Rampe spent 2012 playing football alongside mates in Sydney’s premier competition, a tier below the NEAFL, but showed enough for the Swans to select him with pick No.37 in that year’s rookie draft.
The gun defender made his AFL debut in 2013, earned All-Australian selection in 2016 then a share of Sydney’s captaincy in 2019.
“It’s quite surreal … seven years ago I never thought I’d be in this position,” Rampe recalled.
“I really enjoyed 2012 … it was one of the best years I’ve ever had. It really stripped it back to its basics, just playing park footy with your mates.
“That’s probably a big lesson I learned, not to take it too seriously. You’ve got to have fun along the way. I think that’s held me in really good stead.”
© AAP 2019