Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew has swung the axe at the selection table, dropping young star Izak Rankine to the VFL this weekend.
Rankine, the No. 3 pick from the 2018 AFL draft, has struggled to find form in recent weeks, kicking only one goal from six games.
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He managed just seven disposals against the Brisbane Lions last weekend.
Coming into the senior side to replace Rankine is Joel Jeffery, who will make his debut for the Suns against Melbourne at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Jeffery, who is from the Northern Territory, is in red-hot form — coming fresh off a nine-goal haul in the VFL.
The 19-year-old has kicked 12 goals in the past fortnight and 19 in the past six weeks.
But the decision to drop Rankine to the reserves is a huge statement by Dew.
The small forward has played 30 consecutive games since bursting onto the scene with an exciting three-goal haul on debut last year.
Dew hopes Rankine will take the opportunity to regain some form and confidence in the VFL.
“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,” he said.
“We’ve done it with a number of players this year, like Ben Ainsworth and Josh Corbett.
“That’s a sign of growth in our footy club that if someone dips in form or confidence we can put them back, that’s what the reserves are there for, but then also to reward the guys in the reserves.
“The instruction this week is go out and enjoy his footy and get his hands on it.”
There have been calls to play Rankine in different positions to help him get back into form, and Dew said he will be given the chance to play in the midfield in the VFL.