Former Gold Coast footy boss Jon Haines says a mix of physical and personal issues were behind Izak Rankine’s form drop-off throughout 2021.
The third pick in the 2018 AFL draft missed his first season through injury before exploding onto the scene in 2020 to quickly become one of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition.
It was hoped that Rankine would be able to build on his form and consistency in 2021, however, that has did not eventuate.
Gerard Healy said he was “astounded” at the 21-year old’s quiet season.
“Izak Rankine lit the joint up for a long period of time, we thought he and a few of his teammates were going to take the place by storm, and yet Izak didn’t even finish in the side at the end of the season and struggled to find the footy when he was playing,” Healy told Sportsday.
“For one, I was astounded at his drop-off.”
Haines said the Suns had done a “terrific” job in supporting Rankine, and that the club are confident the livewire will make good on his enormous potential.
“There’s some physical elements to that in terms of his preparation that he’s still learning about and still getting better at,” Haines said.
“From a personal point of view with Izak, without getting into too much detail, he’s come from a really complex background and had a really challenging upbringing in a lot of ways and a lot of people wouldn’t have been exposed to that over the journey.
“I think the club's done a terrific job to wrap their arms around Izac and his family and provide all the support that he needs, over the longer term we’ll see that support bear fruit but there’s certainly some challenges that he’s working through on a daily basis.”
Haines stepped down from his Gold Coast role earlier in September to return home to Western Australia and “explore new opportunities.”