Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has lost patience with Izak Rankine, dropping the prized draft pick to the Suns’ VFL side.
South Australian product Rankine, the third pick at the 2018 AFL draft, has paid the price for poor recent form.
“His last three weeks he hasn’t had the impact he would like so we’re going to get him to go back to the VFL and play a game there to regain confidence,” Dew said.
“His output’s still been okay but we think this is a lever that we’d like to pull at this stage of the year to just give him a bit of confidence.
“We’ve done it with a number of players this year, like Ben Ainsworth and Josh Corbett.”
Key forward Rankine, 21, has played 30 consecutive games for the Suns.
However, he has kicked just one goal in his past six matches, and was ordinary in the Suns’ 49-point weekend QClash loss to Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.
Rankine’s pain is Joel Jeffrey’s gain, with the Suns Academy product to make AFL debut on Saturday against Melbourne.
Jeffrey, a 19-year-old Darwin product, last week kicked nine goals in a best-on-ground performance for the Suns’ VFL side against Aspley.
“He just comes in with confidence and with a really good month to six weeks behind him,” Dew said of Jeffrey.
“Whether it’s a front-end-square, he can mark it. He slides out really well defensively, he’s formidable when he’s on the lead as well because he’s a bit hard to match up on because he’s quite good at ground level.
“He’s always in here working on his craft whether it’s marking, goal kicking or game knowledge – he’s very coachable.”