Top draft selection Izak Rankine has extended his contract with the Suns despite not playing a senior game in 2019, as reported by Fairfax Media.
The highly-talented teenager was one of the top prospects in last year’s draft pool, and the Suns – who are hoping he reaches his potential – have secured his services on two-year deal which carries through until the end of 2022.
Rankine plays as a medium-sized forward who can be dynamic in front of goals and also up the ground as a pacey midfielder. With all the talent shown on display throughout the opening 16 rounds, it’s easy to forget that 12 months Rankine was touted as the most exciting prospect.
The Suns were keen to make the move, after news emerged surrounding similar type player Jack Martin who will likely miss the remainder of 2019 following finger surgery. Martin is expected to miss at least a month but a return date remains unclear.
Having already circulating free agency and trade talks, the out-of-contract Martin has been heavily linked to Carlton, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.
Rankine’s signing is a huge positive for the Suns, who have failed to lure big names and hold onto leaders at the club over the past two years. Contract extensions to Jack Bowes, Ben Ainsworth and big man Peter Wright proves that Gold Coast are keen on building through their young core.
After teammate and fellow South Australian Jack Lukosious was drafted with the second selection in the 2018 draft, murmurs surrounded the two South Australian clubs and their impending attempt to one day lure the prospects back home.
Both Lukosius and fellow key position and top draft pick Ben King have not yet signed extensions, with both players contracted until the conclusion of 2020.
Rankine’s first season in the league has been challenging, after some short but exciting highlights early in a pre-season match, we haven’t got the chance to see him grow in year one due to ongoing injuries.
A hamstring kept him away for a big chunk of the year, he played one game for the Suns’ NEAFL side two weeks ago – but could string a second match together due to a hip complaint.
In restricted minutes, Rankine collected eight possessions and one goal.
“It felt pretty good after 16 and a half weeks of rehab .. I got handed a goal but ended up slotting it and everyone got around me and it felt good,” Rankine said after the game.