Sydney Swans rookie midfielder Dane Ramp is gearing up for the upcoming AFL finals but is mindful of his humble beginnings and uses it as a source of motivation.
"Once I hit the middle of the year and I was getting some consistency in my footy, I thought 'I can really do this and can be there come finals." - Dane Rampe
"I remember driving in from Williamstown over the West Gate and seeing the stadium and the lights," Rampe told afl.com.au.
"It was almost teasing you."
Rampe will be fielding in for the Swans on Friday against the Hawthorn Hawks in the first week of the AFL finals.
He initially tried his fortune with Williamstown in the Victorian Football League but did not get a chance in a span of 2 years.
H persevered and went on to show his wares in the Sydney AFL which caught the eye of the Swans, and he was eventually drafted by them.
It was Rampe's destiny to make a breakthrough. Alex Johnson sustained an injury that gave him an opportunity to play, and he did not disappoint.
He featured 20 out of 22 games for the reigning champions, which management reciprocated by offering him a 2-year contract.
"At the start of the year I was just focused on getting a game," he said.
"I remember telling my family if I get one or two games I'll be rapt."
"Then my short-term goals and long-term goals began to change."
"Once I hit the middle of the year and I was getting some consistency in my footy, I thought 'I can really do this and can be there come finals."
"That's what's happened."
As a rookie, Rampe's capabilities will be tested to the fullest, particularly, with bigger opposition like Jarryd Roughed of the Hawks
"'Roughie' actually took me to the goal square and gave me a little wink and I was like 'Here we go',"
"It is a daunting (Hawthorn) forward line, but early on in the year when we played them I was really excited for it,"
"If I want to be around for a long time, I have to start doing the jobs on those guys and I actually enjoy the challenge while I'm younger."
"I feel like I've got less pressure on because I'm new and I'm giving away 10 or 15 centimetres to some of the bigger guys."
"It's almost like no one really expects anything, so I feel like that takes a load off my shoulders."
"That's the way I'm looking at it anyway."
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