The much-anticipated AFL debut of Gold Coast youngster Izak Rankine has been put on hold once more, with the Suns ruling the 20-year-old out of Saturday’s clash with West Coast.
Rankine tweaked a hamstring recently at training and, given his injury woes last year, the Suns are taking a cautious approach and won’t risk him against the Eagles.
Suns football manager Jon Haines said the limited preparation ahead of the round-two match had left Rankine just short of where he needed to be to play.
“He hasn’t quite hit his speed markers just yet,” Haines said.
“It’s been a really short escalation over the last three or four weeks and we want to set him up for a sustained run at it.
“He’ll be a couple of weeks away and we’ll make sure that we can hit those speed markers over the coming weeks and set him up for a really consistent year.”
The Suns are opting for a careful approach given Rankine has endured multiple injury setbacks since arriving as 2018’s third draft pick.
While the livewire forward won’t face the Eagles at Metricon Stadium, Haines said Sam Flanders was pushing hard to join fellow draftees Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell as an AFL debutant after an impressive display on Friday in an intra-club match.
“There’s no doubt he’s had a terrific block of pre-season but he was also really impressive during the shutdown period as well,” Haines said.
“He certainly put his hand up on Friday night, he performed really well and is a really driven, competitive young man with great talent.”