Swans brace for AFL litmus test

Justin ChadwickAAP
Dane Rampe says the Swans are facing a litmus test over the coming weeks.
Camera IconDane Rampe says the Swans are facing a litmus test over the coming weeks. Credit: AAP

Milestone man Dane Rampe says Sydney's next three weeks will be an important litmus test as the Swans prepare to take on some of the AFL's best teams.

Sydney play fourth-placed Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Friday night before facing a rejuvenated Richmond and ladder leaders Melbourne.

Rampe says the three-week stretch against premiership contenders will give the fifth-placed Swans (5-3) an accurate gauge of where they sit.

"I wouldn't say it's season defining, but it's a big opportunity these next three weeks, and a bit of a litmus test as well," Rampe said on Monday.

"On the back of the weekend, we feel like we've got a little bit of momentum and we're really looking forward to three big games heading into the bye.

"I guess we'll see where we're at."

The Swans put aside consecutive losses at the SCG to thump struggling Essendon by 58 points on Saturday.

Carlton will present a far tougher challenge following the club's stunning 7-2 start to the season, which included a 30-point win over GWS on Sunday.

The Blues are set to be without defender Zac Williams for up to three months with a serious calf injury.

Rampe will notch his 200-game milestone when he runs out against the Blues.

It's a figure the Sydney co-captain thought he would never reach after being overlooked in multiple drafts and falling in and out of love with the game while playing in the VFL.

The 31-year-old even trained with the Western Bulldogs in 2010, and said not being picked up that year ended up a blessing in disguise.

Rampe moved back to Sydney and dominated in the local leagues before receiving a call from then-Swans coach Paul Roos.

"Definitely, absolutely (I had doubts)," Rampe said of his AFL dream.

"(I experienced) a couple of knock backs at the draft and two unsuccessful years down in Melbourne..

"Of course those doubts creep in, but one thing I'm proud of is when I got my opportunity, I grabbed it with both hands.

"I was just playing the local leagues around the corner here and Roosy gave me a call and asked if I wanted to play a couple of games in the reserves.

"I did, and I managed to grab it with both hands."

Rampe was rookie-listed by the Swans in 2013 and hasn't looked back, becoming an integral part of the team's defence and snaring an All-Australian place and a best-and-fairest award along the way.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails