RONKE MAKES EARLY IMPACT
By Tim Michell
SYDNEY assistant coach Henry Playfair has lauded the impression Calder Cannons draftee Ben Ronke has made since arriving in the Harbour City.
The 19-year-old, a product of St Bernard’s junior system, was selected by the Swans with pick no.17 in last year’s AFL Rookie Draft.
Sydney likened Ronke, a goalkicking midfielder who won Calder’s best-and-fairest in 2016, to “a young Kieren Jack”.
However, it appears he has been earmarked for another role in the Swans’ side after small forward Tom Papley was placed on the long-term injury list.
Papley was a revelation in his debut AFL campaign after joining Sydney from Gippsland Power as a rookie.
He booted 29 goals from 20 matches and Sydney is hopeful Ronke could have a similar impact in his first season at the elite level.
"We hope so,” Playfair told Sydney’s website after the Swans’ recent intraclub match.
“(Ronke) is a similar type. He's come in and made a real impact.
“The main thing is he gives you effort almost every piece of play which is a great foundation.
“How far he goes, we're not sure.
“Saying that, this time last year we had no idea what Papley would produce.
“It's the same with 'Ronks', it's hard to make a prediction so we'll just let it run its course."
Ronke, who featured in his first TAC Cup season last year, pipped fellow rookie Zach Guthrie to claim last year’s Robert Hyde Medal.
Ronke slotted 19 goals from 15 matches with the Cannons and also impressed during a short stint with VFL club Coburg during 2016.
He was part of ‘Red team’ which won the Sydney intraclub match by 28 points, 13.11 (89) to 9.7 (61).