Rance at Richmond's family day in December 2016
|Date of birth||9 October 1989|
|Place of birth||Perth, Western Australia|
|Original team(s)||Swan Districts (WAFL)
|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)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2016.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
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
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. He later played for Noranda in the Western Australian Amateur Football League before again moving to the Swan Districts side in the WAFL. 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.
Early days (2008–2010)
Rance was drafted with Richmond's second selection and the 18th overall in the 2007 National Draft.
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. 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. He kicked his first career goal in a Round 19 loss to Sydney.
An emerging talent (2011–2013)
In 2011 Rance was suspended following a Round 1 hit on Carlton's Jarrad Waite. He would miss three matches for the incident. He did not play in a victory that season, with the club losing all ten matches he appeared in. 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.
Rance approached the 2012 season with building expectations, citing a desire to play finals for the first time. 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. In Round 2, he recorded a career best 34 disposals as well as a career best 17 marks. In a Round 6 win against Port Adelaide, Rance recorded his first career Brownlow Medal votes, scoring the maximum three points for the match. He finished the season with then career-best totals in kicks, marks and handballs.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
After playing in Richmond's Round 1 match against Gold Coast, Rance would subsequently miss 5 matches due to a bizzare foot-fracture. He sustain the break while riding his bicycle prior to the club's Round 2 match. Through Round He recorded a season-high 29 disposals in the club's Round 13 match with Fremantle. Through Round 15 Rance was placed first in the league for win-loss differential in one-on-one contests. 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. Teammate Jack Riewoldt said at the time it was “probably the best quarter of footy (he'd) ever seen someone play”. Rance won his first All-Australian selection that year, named in the position of centre half back. He also won his third consecutive player-voted Francis Bourke award at Richmond's best and fairest night.
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.
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. Later reports emerged suggesting Rance was also considering retiring. On-field his game followed the trajectory established in previous years, with Rance maintaining his status as one of the competition's best defenders. 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. 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. 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. His season was rewarded with the Jack Dyer Medal as the club's best and fairest player. He also won a second consecutive selection as an All-Australian, this time in the position of fullback.
Prior to the 2016 season, Rance was voted by his peers into Richmond's five man leadership group. 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. He subsequently accepted a two match ban for the incident and offered a public apology for his actions. 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. Having notched up his 150th game for the club, Rance was awarded life membership at Richmond. Rance was selected as an All-Australian for the third consecutive season, equaling a club record for most career selections. He narrowly missed out on his second straight best-and-fairest, pipped by teammate Dustin Martin 61 votes to 62.
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. 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.
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.
In his early seasons he played matches in various roles including as a wing, general defender and even as a forward.
- Statistics are correct to the end of the 2016 season 
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
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.
Rance married partner Georgia in December 2012.
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.
In 2016 Rance appeared regularly as a guest panelist and special segment host on The Footy Show. He will continue the role in 2017, presenting his own weekly segment on the program. He also worked as a co-host on the AFL Exchange podcast for AFL Media in 2016. In 2017 Rance became a presenter on the Nine Network lifestyle and travel show Postcards.
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.
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