Forward December 2017 Forward_2017Dec WEB - Page 42

OLD GUILDFORDIANS Heart of a Tiger An Old Guildfordian, Alex Rance (Fr 2005-2006), has established himself as one of, if not the best, defensive players in the Australian Football League (AFL). Having been described by AFL legend Dustin Fletcher as being “a player who you just love watching and has a real impact on games”, his talents have seen him perform at a consistently elite level within his 175 career games. Born in Perth, Alex was raised in a football world with his dad, Murray Rance, a former Footscray and West Coast Eagles player and Captain of Swan Districts in the West Australian Football League (WAFL). Alex began his football at the High Wycombe Junior Football Club before playing for Noranda in the Western Australian Amateur Football League and Guildford Grammar School. He then moved on to playing for the Swan Districts side in the WAFL before being drafted into the AFL. His football talents have impressed from an early age, being selected into the Western Australian State 16’s and 18’s in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Having been drafted in the 2007 National AFL Draft as the 18th selection for that year, Alex was picked up by Richmond and he made his AFL debut two years later in Round 2 of the 2009 season. Ever since his debut, he has developed into the prolific player that he is with the ability to lock down on opponents, rebound offensively, take intercept marks and use all traits when needed. Despite being such an iconic player of the game, Alex’s on-field talents do not exclusively portray his individual character The sweet taste of success! Our congratulations go to Alex Rance and his club, the Richmond Football Club, for winning the AFL Premiership in 2017. Photo courtesy of Richmond Football Club. Alex proudly holds the Premiership Cup aloft with teammates Dylan Grimes and David Astbury. Photo courtesy of Richmond Football Club. and passions. Within the AFL world, Alex rivals Patrick Dangerfield as the busiest media presence; being a regular personality on The Footy Show and joining the Postcards program as a presenter. His bubbly and fun persona make him a hit across television screens, but he admits that at times he struggles to find a balance between this and his family and religious life. He has now created a Year 11 and 12 school in Essendon that combines an AFL-related focus with the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. The school has developed a curriculum that harnesses the passions of students and gets them re-engaged in sport with the help of industry professionals that specialise in education and high-performance management. In 2015, Alex found himself in a rare situation of nearly leaving the game and retiring whilst he was in his best form. The commitment of being a highly demanded AFL player was taking away from his faith and his family. Being described as a “gentle soul with strong and consistent values”, Rance found himself torn between football and an alternative life. Managing to continue his impressive and successful AFL career, Alex now juggles a busy schedule that exists outside of footy. With his AFL career still well and truly flourishing, his exceptional form has been recognised this season with his selection in the All Australian side, the fourth year in a row, and this year he was named Captain. His performance in 2017, along with his teammates at the Richmond Football Club, have led all players to their debut in a Grand Final against the Adelaide Crows, also Richmond’s first appearance in the big game since 1982. Richmond’s Grand Final performance produced a fairytale ending, with Alex being highlighted as the saviour at pivotal times and helping to limit Adelaide to their lowest score for the season. On the day, Alex produced 11 well-timed and classy disposals, putting him in contention for the Norm Smith medal, and had Tigers fans praising his decision to stay in the AFL. As his influences reach further than his presence as a key player for the Richmond Football Club, Rance has followed a passion within the education world and he has started up his own school. Alex co-founded a sporting school called ‘The Academy’ with the ambitious plan to overhaul Victoria’s teaching methods. Alex’s own educational context has driven his passion for wanting to influence the education system. Having attended a non-denominational arts and music based school before Guildford Grammar School, his sporting passions were not satisfied. He references attending Guildford Grammar School as the turning point, for there he was able to thrive under an elite sporting program. With his place in football being uncertain due to his desires and visions in so many other aspects of his life, the future for Alex promises to be nothing but exciting. For now, his performance on the footy field, in addition to this recent Premiership win, is continuing to cement his legacy within the AFL. Coupled with the many pursuits and passions that he is following, Alex Rance’s positive influence is destined to grow. 43