Alex Rance

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Alex Rance
Alex Rance 20.12.16.jpg
Rance at Richmond's family day in December 2016
Personal information
Date of birth (1989-10-09) 9 October 1989 (age 27)
Place of birth Perth, Western Australia
Original team(s) Swan Districts (WAFL)
Noranda (WAAFL)
Draft No. 18, 2007 AFL National Draft: Richmond
Debut Round 2, 2009, Richmond
vs. Geelong, at Kardinia Park
Height / weight 194 cm (6 ft 4 in) / 96 kg (15 st 2 lb)
Position(s) Fullback
Club information
Current club Richmond
Number 18
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2008– Richmond 150 (8)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
Career highlights



  • U-18 National Championship: 2007
  • U-18 All-Australian: 2007
Sources: AFL Tables,

Alex Rance (born 9 October 1989) is a professional Australian rules footballer, currently playing with the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League. Rance is a three time All-Australian and a winner of Richmond's best-and-fairest award. He is currently the club's co-vice captain. Rance is the son of former Footscray and West Coast player Murray Rance.

Early life and junior football[edit]

Rance is of strong footballing heritage, being the son of Murray Rance, a former Footscray and West Coast player and Swan Districts captain in the WAFL. Born in Perth in the latter years of his father's VFL career, Rance played junior football at the High Wycombe Junior Football Club in Perth's eastern suburbs.[1] He later played for Noranda in the Western Australian Amateur Football League before again moving to the Swan Districts side in the WAFL.[2] In 2007 Rance represented Western Australia at the Under 18 National Championships. There he won a premiership medal with the team as well as being selected as an All-Australian.[3]

He completed high school studies at Guildford Grammar School in Perth, Western Australia.[4]

AFL career[edit]

Early days (2008–2010)[edit]

Rance was drafted with Richmond's second selection and the 18th overall in the 2007 National Draft.

He failed to play senior football in his first season at the club, instead playing for the reserves affiliated Coburg Football Club in the VFL.

Rance made his AFL debut in Round 2 of the 2009 season in a loss to Geelong at Kardinia Park. He recorded 18 disposals and six marks in the match.[5] In Round 7 of that season, Rance was involved in a head clash with Brisbane Lions player Troy Selwood. He suffered three small cheekbone fractures and missed three matches as a result of the incident.[6] He kicked his first career goal in a Round 19 loss to Sydney.[7]

An emerging talent (2011–2013)[edit]

In 2011 Rance was suspended following a Round 1 hit on Carlton's Jarrad Waite. He would miss three matches for the incident.[8] He did not play in a victory that season, with the club losing all ten matches he appeared in.[9] He would however cite this time as key for his growth as a key position defender, praising the efforts of then Richmond-defensive coach Justin Leppitsch in teaching him the more technical aspects of the role.[10]

Rance approached the 2012 season with building expectations, citing a desire to play finals for the first time.[11] Though the club did not reach the goal in 2012, Rance's output improved considerably. In addition to his growing acumen in the rigidly defense focused parts of his game, he began improving on his rebound from defensive 50.[12] In Round 2, he recorded a career best 34 disposals as well as a career best 17 marks.[9] In a Round 6 win against Port Adelaide, Rance recorded his first career Brownlow Medal votes, scoring the maximum three points for the match.[13] He finished the season with then career-best totals in kicks, marks and handballs.[9]

Rance started the 2013 season poorly, giving up a career-best four goals to Western Bulldogs forward Liam Jones in the clubs' Round 3 match-up.[14] Despite this, he remained the team's foremost defender even with the recent acquisition of former Port Adelaide tall defender Troy Chaplin, whom Rance praised heavily prior to and during the season.[14][15] During the season Rance would be tasked with defensive roles on some of the league's best forwards including Travis Cloke, Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin.[14][16] In particular, his performance in negating Franklin in the club's Round 19 match against Hawthorn was crucial to the team's victory. He held Franklin to only one goal in the match.[17] In 2013 Rance played in the club's first final in 12 years, an elimination final loss to traditional rivals Carlton at the MCG. At the end of the season Rance was ranked ninth in the league for marks. He ranked first at the club for marks, rebound 50s and one-percenters as well as top ten in both kicks and handballs.[18][19] Rance received the player-voted Francis Bourke award for the second straight season for his embodiment of the club's principles of awareness, belief and discipline.[19]

All-Australian (2014–2016)[edit]

After playing in Richmond's Round 1 match against Gold Coast, Rance would subsequently miss 5 matches due to a bizzare foot-fracture.[9][20] He sustain the break while riding his bicycle prior to the club's Round 2 match.[21] Through Round He recorded a season-high 29 disposals in the club's Round 13 match with Fremantle.[20] Through Round 15 Rance was placed first in the league for win-loss differential in one-on-one contests.[22] In Richmond's must-win Round 23 clash with Sydney, Rance was crucial in negating the Swans' Lance Franklin. He recorded 16 disposals with a spectacular 12 coming off intercept possessions.[20][23] Teammate Jack Riewoldt said at the time it was “probably the best quarter of footy (he'd) ever seen someone play”.[20] Rance won his first All-Australian selection that year, named in the position of centre half back.[24][25] He also won his third consecutive player-voted Francis Bourke award at Richmond's best and fairest night.[26]

Rance playing against Brisbane in 2015

In later years, Rance would reveal he had privately decided to give up football after enduring a grueling 2014 season. He had intended at the time to complete the last year of his contract in 2015 before retiring from the game.[27]

In the early parts of the 2015 season, Rance's unwillingness to sign a contract extension with Richmond led to media speculation concerning his future. It was reported at the time that he was considering significant contract offers from other AFL clubs, specifically Fremantle and the Brisbane Lions.[28] Later reports emerged suggesting Rance was also considering retiring.[29] On-field his game followed the trajectory established in previous years, with Rance maintaining his status as one of the competition's best defenders.[30] Through 17 matches Rance had conceded only 19 goals, and with a disposal average of 17 per game, was a solid rebounding presence as well.[31] In June Rance ended contract speculation by signing a four year contract extension at Richmond, keeping him tied to the club through the end of the 2019 season.[32] Rance finished the season playing in all 23 of the club's matches including in an elimination final defeat at the hands of North Melbourne.[9] His season was rewarded with the Jack Dyer Medal as the club's best and fairest player.[33] He also won a second consecutive selection as an All-Australian, this time in the position of fullback.[34]

Prior to the 2016 season, Rance was voted by his peers into Richmond's five man leadership group.[35] As the only defender in the group, he replaced teammate Troy Chaplin as the official leadership voice of the club's backline. Rance was reported in April for striking Melbourne's Jack Watts in an incident in the clubs' ANZAC Day-eve clash.[36] He subsequently accepted a two match ban for the incident and offered a public apology for his actions.[37] Rance played all other matches that season and finished with a then career-best 155 marks for the season from his 20 matches. It was also a career best year for average disposals, as he continued to improve his rebounding from defensive 50.[9] Having notched up his 150th game for the club, Rance was awarded life membership at Richmond.[38] Rance was selected as an All-Australian for the third consecutive season, equaling a club record for most career selections.[39] He narrowly missed out on his second straight best-and-fairest, pipped by teammate Dustin Martin 61 votes to 62.[40]


Ahead of the 2017 season Rance was ranked the competition's best key position defender as part of the AFL statistics partner Champion Data's annual ranking.[41] Though he went through a full pre-season program, a minor hamstring injury left Rance sidelined in Richmond's first match of the 2017 JLT Community Series.[42]

Playing style[edit]

Rance plays as key-position defender. He is most often tasked with one-on-one defensive roles, negating opposing teams' best forwards. He has been regularly referred to by media and football experts as the best defender in the game since his first All-Australian season in 2014.[43][22][30]

In his early seasons he played matches in various roles including as a wing, general defender and even as a forward.[44]


Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season [45]
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2009 Richmond 18 15 1 2 69 135 204 47 43 0.1 0.1 4.6 9.0 13.6 3.1 2.9
2010 Richmond 18 10 6 3 55 66 121 36 23 0.6 0.3 5.5 6.6 12.1 3.6 2.3
2011 Richmond 18 19 0 0 190 155 345 113 49 0.0 0.0 10.0 8.2 18.2 5.9 2.6
2012 Richmond 18 22 0 0 236 159 395 136 48 0.0 0.0 10.7 7.2 18.0 6.2 2.2
2013 Richmond 18 23 1 0 226 156 382 153 50 0.0 0.0 9.8 6.8 16.6 6.7 2.2
2014 Richmond 18 18 0 0 154 158 312 104 49 0.0 0.0 8.6 8.8 17.3 5.8 2.7
2015 Richmond 18 23 0 0 203 196 399 135 68 0.0 0.0 8.8 8.5 17.4 5.9 3.0
2016 Richmond 18 20 0 0 212 161 373 155 43 0.0 0.0 10.6 8.1 18.7 7.8 2.2
Career 150 8 5 1345 1186 2531 879 373 0.1 0.0 9.0 7.9 16.9 5.9 2.5

Personal life[edit]

Rance is a practicing Jehovah's Witness.[46]

While playing football he has studied but not completed courses in carpentry, building and piloting as well as completing part time work in real estate sales.[27]

Rance married partner Georgia in December 2012.[47]

In 2011 Rance was the victim of stalking by a man who was later sentenced to 12 months in prison for incidents also including harassment and soliciting cash while posing as a doctor.[48]

Other work[edit]

In 2016 Rance appeared regularly as a guest panelist and special segment host on The Footy Show.[49] He will continue the role in 2017, presenting his own weekly segment on the program.[50] He also worked as a co-host on the AFL Exchange podcast for AFL Media in 2016.[51] In 2017 Rance became a presenter on the Nine Network lifestyle and travel show Postcards.[50]

In 2016 Rance personally launched The Academy, an Australian rules football academy for high school students. The program, which Rance is credited with conceiving, is designed to provide students opportunities in sport outside traditional pathways. Graduating students will earn a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning.[52]


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  2. ^ Greenberg, Tony (23 November 2016). "Richmond draft reflections: 2007". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  3. ^ 2007 All-Australian U18 team – Australian Football League. Published 11 July 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Football". Guilford Grammar School. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Round 2 2009 Geelong vs Richmond". AFL Tables. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Ralph, Jon (11 May 2009). "Richmmond's Alex Rance will be back in three weeks harder than ever". Daily Telegraph. News Ltd. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Round 19 2009 Richmond vs Sydney". AFL Tables. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Matthews, Bruce (21 April 2011). "Tigers read riot act to defenders Luke McGuane and Alex Rance". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Alex Rance". AFL Tables. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Tigers keep a lid on dreams". The Age. Fairfax. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Piscani, Sacha (24 February 2012). "Tigers aiming for top-six finish says Richmond defender Alex Rance". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  12. ^ Lyon, Garry (7 July 2012). "Victims of the rebound". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "Round 6 2012, Port Adelaide vs Richmond". AFL Tables. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c Landsberger, Sam (22 April 2016). "Richmond defender Alex Rance put his hand up for the Travis Cloke task". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  15. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (13 February 2013). "Fine Chaps". Bigpond. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  16. ^ Green, Warwick (8 August 2013). "Defenders Alex Rance, Troy Chaplin the key to Richmond's finals charge". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  17. ^ McNicol, Adam (3 August 2013). "Tigers flourish in the wet". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  18. ^ "2013 Player Stats". AFL Tables. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "2013 JDM: Rance the players' champ". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c d "14 in 14: Alex Rance". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  21. ^ Warner, Michael (28 March 2014). "Richmond defender Alex Rance injured after falling off bike, could miss three games". Herald Sun. News Corp. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  22. ^ a b Ralph, Jon (4 July 2014). "Richmond defender Alex Rance is the best one-on-one player in the AFL". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  23. ^ "Rance's brilliant finish". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Gary Ablett, Nathan Fyfe and Lance Franklin named in All Australian AFL team of the year". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  25. ^ "Rance in All-Australian team". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  26. ^ "Players rate Rance". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  27. ^ a b Quayle, Emma (15 April 2016). "Why Alex Rance almost walked away from Richmond". The Age. Bigpond. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  28. ^ "Brisbane poised to target Richmond defender Alex Rance with Lions Coach Justin Leppitsch key to securing prized defender". The Courier Mail. News Corp. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  29. ^ Wilson, Caroline (29 April 2015). "Why Richmond's Alex Rance may walk away". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Murnane, Matt (21 April 2015). "Alex Rance can lay claim to being the best key defender in the AFL". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  31. ^ Capel, Andrew (7 August 2015). "Tough Taylor Walker leaves competition's best backman, Alex Rance, rattled". The Adelaide Advertiser. Fairfax. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  32. ^ "Alex Rance signs new four-year deal with Richmond". Herald Sun. News Ltd. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  33. ^ Greenberg, Tony (6 October 2015). "Rance reigns". Bigpond. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  34. ^ Gleeson, Michael (23 September 2015). "AFL All-Australian 2015 team: Jack Riewoldt picked ahead of Taylor Walker". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  35. ^ "Rance, Edwards elevated to leadership group". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  36. ^ Edwards, Nat (24 April 2016). "Tiger defender Alex Rance on report for late brain-fade". Bigpond. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  37. ^ Lerner, Ronny (26 April 2016). "AFL season 2016: I'm absolutely remorseful for what I did, says Alex Rance". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  38. ^ Connolly, Rohan (14 December 2016). "Dustin Martin and Alex Rance receive life membership at Richmond". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  39. ^ "All Australian: Sydney, Geelong, Adelaide feature heavily in AFL's team of 2016". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  40. ^ Greenberg, Tony (8 September 2016). "Dusty's Jack triumph". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  41. ^ Beveridge, Riley (4 January 2017). "Sydney's Aliir Aliir named among top 10 key defenders in the AFL by Champion Data". Fox Sports. News Corp. Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  42. ^ Schmook, Nathan (1 March 2017). "'Welcome addition' Rance to return for Tigers". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  43. ^ Schmook, Nathan (12 August 2015). "Coaches have their say on the AFL's best - position by position". Bigpond. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  44. ^ Quayle, Emma (24 August 2013). "Tiger defender is flying". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  45. ^ Alex Rance's player profile at AFL Tables
  46. ^ Nicholson, Larissa. "Alex Rance's dilemma: Jehovah's Witnesses in sport". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  47. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (20 February 2013). "Rance looks to the skies". Richmond FC. Bigpond. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  48. ^ Deery, Shannon (27 August 2013). "Scott Raymond Thomas wins sentence appeal after stalking AFL player Alex Rance". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  49. ^ "AFL stars join worldwide Pokemon Go craze". Herald Sun. News Ltd. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  50. ^ a b Thompson, Matt (22 January 2017). "TV star Alex Rance to shine on and off the field". Bigpond. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  51. ^ "AFL Exchange". Bigpond. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  52. ^ Quayle, Emma (25 August 2016). "Richmond defender Alex Rance's latest creation: a school". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 

External links[edit]