Gold Coast Suns star Touk Miller has provided an insight into the meeting between club leaders and Izak Rankine in a failed bid to convince him to stay.
Rankine officially lodged a trade request this week as he looks to return home to South Australia and play for the Adelaide Crows on a deal worth roughly $850,000 per season for five years.
The 22-year-old still deliberated for some time before making the decision to request a trade, with that period involving a discussion with the Suns’ leadership group.
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“We sat him down, we had a chat to him, our leadership group,” Miller told AFL 360.
“We literally just gave him our honest opinion and how we felt and what we felt with where his spot was in our club and how important he was to us succeeding and how much of a loss it is if he doesn’t play for us.”
Rankine still decided to depart, something Miller said was frustrating even though it is a common part of the AFL landscape.
“I’ll be honest, it is disappointing. I feel like for us, we felt like Izak, we put a lot of time into him,” he said.
“For the player that he is and going to become, I feel like we had a massive hand in that and trying to create that and surround him with a culture where he can thrive and relish.
“He’s really just started to give us the goods towards the end there.”
Rankine put together a 29-goal campaign in 2022, but his pressure and score involvements have surged in what is easily his best year yet since being drafted with pick No.3 back in 2018.
Miller said he and the leaders “did try our best to keep him” and admitted “it does hurt” to see Rankine opt to leave.
Rankine’s mega-offer from the Crows has raised some eyebrows in the AFL world, with key forward great Matthew Lloyd one such sceptic.
“The $850,000 price tag, to me that is reserved for players who can be midfielders and forward-midfielders,” he said on Footy Classified.
“That is what (Gary) Ablett (Jnr) became, it’s what (Christian) Petracca became. I look at Tyson Stengle, who’s just made the All-Australian team, he’d be on $250,000 this year. Rankine is being paid $850,000.
“I reserve that money for Dustin Martin, Petracca, Bontempelli, Shai Bolton. It’s a big thing to be paying. I don’t know if he’s got a midfield tank in him so it’s a lot of money to be paying for a forward pocket.”
Coming to the Crows and Rankine’s defence was small forward legend Eddie Betts.
Betts, who performed the role incredibly during his time at the Crows and Carlton, told AFL 360 there should be no stigma attached to Rankine’s huge pay packet.
“He could build into that. Small forwards, if they’re good enough … they should earn the right to make that amount of money,” he said.
“There are small backs on that amount of money, there’s rucks, there’s tall forwards, there’s midfielders, but no small forwards ever.
“It’s one of the hardest positions to play on the ground and I can’t really see a functional forward line without a small forward.”