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Sydney rookie Ben Ronke needed help finding his way onto the MCG, but once he was there he knew exactly where the goals were.
A stunning seven-goal haul from Ronke propelled the Swans to a pulsating eight-point win over Hawthorn on Friday night.
In just his third AFL match and his first at the MCG, Ronke kicked his side’s first five goals then sealed the 12.7 (79) to 10.11 (71) victory with his seventh with a minute left on the clock.
“I was a little bit concerned before the game,” Swans coach John Longmire said of Ronke.
“I walked out of the coach’s room and he was just about to walk in … I asked him where he was going and he said, ‘I don’t know how to get out on the ground’.
“It slipped my mind that he hadn’t actually been here, or played out of these rooms, so I had to guide him to get out on the ground.
“I’m glad he found his way when he got out there.”
With superstar forward Lance Franklin still sidelined with a sore heel, Ronke stepped up with a brilliant performance that also included 10 tackles.
“It’s a dream come true,” Ronke told the Seven Network.
“I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity and to get a win like that … nothing better.
“I try to base my game on pressure and tackling and if the goals come it’s a bonus.
“Pressure is my main focus.”
With Dan Hannebery also absent through injury, the Swans fielded a young side with their inexperience evident in attack where 19-year-old Will Hayward contributed three goals.
“When your two highest goal scorers are Hayward and Ronke and Tom McCartin plays his first game it’s a pretty young front half,” Longmire said.
“We’ve got some kids and as long as they compete they’ll put in some good ones and then they’ll put in some not-so-good ones, but hopefully they get better.”
The Hawks looked to have the momentum when they led by nine points in a thrilling final term.
But Luke Parker – reported for a high bump on Jarman Impey minutes earlier – put his side in front from a set shot after Hayward kicked his third goal.
Jake Lloyd was outstanding for Sydney with 36 possessions, with Parker (28 disposals and two goals) also influential.