Ronke joins elite list

Among 1,413 players who have worn the colours of the Sydney Swans/South Melbourne through the club’s history of 122 years and 2,415 games, only 42 have kicked seven goals or more in a game. Or 2.97%.

At the other end of the scale, 423 (29.94%) never kicked a goal and 872 (61.71%) didn’t kick seven goals in their career.

The 2.97% who have kicked seven or more goals in a game are the truly elite. And heading this list is the elite of the elite. Bob Pratt, the club’s all-time leading goal-kicker, and Tony Lockett, the game’s all-time leading goal-kicker.

Pratt kicked seven or more goals for the Swans a club record 32 times in 158 games, or 21.77% of the club’s total of 147 games of seven-plus goals. Lockett did so 21 times in 98 games, or 14.29% of the total.

Between them the two mega champions are responsible for more than a third of the Swans total games of seven of more goals.

The newest and 42nd member of the ‘seven-plus’ club is a player who will quite probably be shaking his head in disbelief for a long time after kicking seven goals in just his third game of AFL football on Friday night. And in his first game at the MCG.

Ben Ronke, 20 years 144 days old, wrote his name into the club record books with a match-winning haul against Hawthorn.

He kicked the Swans first five goals through to the 6-minute mark of the second quarter, including four goals from four kicks in the first term, and added two goals in the last quarter, including the sealer in the closing seconds.

Playing 90% game time, the young man whose name is pronounced simply “Ronk” not “Ronky” as the spelling might suggest, finished with nine kicks, two marks, two handballs and 10 tackles.

A product of the 2017 Rookie Draft from the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup and still listed as a Rookie in 2018, Ronke was the first player in AFL history since the League started recording tackles in 1990 to kick seven goals and have 10 tackles in the same game.

He was the first player to kick seven in his first game at the MCG since Scott Cummings kicked eight for Essendon there in 1994, and the first Swan since Barry Hall in 2002 to kick four goals in the opening quarter.

Interestingly, the young man in the #25 jumper worn previously by fellow “seven-plus” club members Laurie Nash, Peter Reville, Hayden McAuliffe and Barry Round, lived right up to the generous description of him written in the 2017 AFL Prospectus soon after he had been drafted.

It said of Ronke: “…an inside midfielder with elite speed who gets in and out of traffic well … his ability to hit the scoreboard is elite.”

In summary, and in tribute to Swans recruiting chief Kinnear Beatson, it said: “When the Swans rookie you, you’re every chance. Keep your eye on him”.

After his 7 goal performance against the Hawks, Ronke was then awarded the NAB Round 8 Rising Star Nomination.

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