Milestone Swan keen to avoid spotlight
Dane Rampe cracks a wry smile.
"I've had a bit of stuff going on lately" he replies when asked if he's had time to appreciate the enormity of Sunday's 150-game milestone for the Sydney Swans.
The club's co-captain found himself in the spotlight recently for comments directed at an umpire and leaping on to a goalpost in the dying moments of the win over Essendon.
An apology (and fines) swiftly followed but then a late, costly error in the home defeat by Collingwood had the 29-year-old in the spotlight once more.
But a few painful blips in an otherwise fruitful career wasn't about to break Rampe, especially when he's set for a milestone that he thought would never come.
"Obviously it's a pretty exciting week," he said.
"Something I'm pretty proud of.
"Seven years ago I never thought I'd be in his position. It's something I'm incredibly grateful for, for the footy club to give me that opportunity. Hopefully I keep repaying the faith they've shown in me.
"I haven't thought about it too much (the milestone). I've had a bit of stuff going on lately. I'm really looking forward to this weekend and then I'll probably reassess after the bye. My friends and family are all going to be here for the occasion and probably something I can reflect on Sunday afternoon and on Monday."
Rampe just hopes all the headlines this weekend will be footy-focused.
"It's been interesting. I'm sick of seeing myself in the news or talking about me," he said. "Hopefully it's all said and done and (I) just focus on my footy now.
"It is what it is. I've made my bed so I've got to lie in it now.
"Poor choice of words, a couple of brain fades and I'll learn from it.
"I guess it was a little bit disappointing that we had some really good wins, particularly the one against Essendon and I think that overshadowed a really good team win on the Friday night."
Next up, West Coast Eagles.
"If we can get a win this week we can reassess after the bye and really hope to build some momentum going into the second part of the year," Rampe said.
"I think my year's been pretty consistent. I think the gap between my best and worst games has really minimised itself, which I'm proud about, a big focus coming into my first year as captain. I didn't want my effort or my consistency to waver. It's been built on a team-first approach and doing my bit when I can."
For Rampe, the milestone is hugely satisfying, the Swans having picked him up as a rookie ahead of the 2013 season.
"It was all but done (the AFL dream), he said. "I still held hopes, still kept myself fit but the reality was it wasn't on the radar. So for it to eventuate and for the last five or six years to pan out the way they have has been pretty incredible.
"I really enjoyed my year in 2012 when I came back from the VFL and played for UNSW. That was one of the best years of footy I've ever had. Stripped back to its basics, I guess, playing park footy with your mates. It's probably a big lesson to learn moving forward not to take it too seriously, you've got to have fun along the way and I think that's held me in really good stead."