Fox Footy pundits have debated whether Izak Rankine’s looming $4 million move to the Adelaide Crows is in the best interests of the young gun’s career and a wise investment from the club.
Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph revealed the Crows are nearing a trade with the Suns that’ll see Adelaide land Rankine and a late pick in this year’s draft in exchange for Pick 5, a future third rounder and future fourth rounder.
The former Pick 3 officially requested a trade in late August to return to South Australia on a reported five-year deal with the Crows – the team he grew up barracking for – worth $800,000 per season.
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He departs a budding Suns side on the rise with a promising core including Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Jack Lukosius to join an Adelaide team in the midst of a rebuild to play alongside fellow young gun forwards Josh Rachele and Riley Thilthorpe.
“Let’s face it, it’s effectively Pick 5 for Izak Rankine … a star of the future. It’s a pretty good deal for Adelaide,” Ralph said on Fox Footy’s Trading Day.
“You’ve got Rachele and you’ve got Rankine. They’re going to fill the Adelaide Oval, they’re going to make millions from this pair. I think they’ll win some game too.”
It comes after a career-best season from Rankine, booting a personal best 29 goals from 16 games while rating elite as a general forward in contested possessions (averaged 6.4 per contest), forward 50 ground ball gets (2.9 [No. 1 in competition]) and goal assists (1.6).
Three-time All-Australian Nick Dal Santo also praised the move from Adelaide, likening it to the club’s acquisition of Eddie Betts at the end of 2013.
“It’s a very good deal for Adelaide. You think about a known entity and a young man who’s played a handful of really good games, but we’ve seen some growth, particularly in the last 12 games,” Dal Santo said.
“At least you know what you’re getting for that Pick 5. You are getting potentially the best small forward in the competition.
“There was a guy that went to the same football club at the end of 2013 – Eddie Betts – and he lit that town up for his time there.
“This guy has everything capability and skill wise. We’ve seen glimpses where he is the most exciting player in the competition, and he’s just scratching the surface.
“You hear reports out of the Gold Coast about his willingness to compete and his training ethic that has improved over the years.
“I know he plays in a position that is often hit or miss, but that’s the life of a small forward.”
However North Melbourne legend David King questioned whether it was prudent of Adelaide to give such a lucrative contract to a small forward.
“This is the discussion, five years at $800,000 (per season), you nearly need to be a marquee midfielder or mid-forward type. That’s big coin,” he said.
“They need midfielders more than they need small forwards. One of those two (Rachele or Rankine) has to become a prime midfielder for the Adelaide Crows to make a charge up the table. It’s an expensive piece.
“If you haven’t got a good midfield, you ain’t winning a flag. So if you spend that sort of money in the forward pockets, good luck stacking your midfield.”
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King, who’s previously said he thinks Rankine was “poorly advised,” also queried how the 22-year old would handle the pressure that comes with signing a big-money deal.
“I was critical of the advice to go back to a two-team town into a fishbowl,” he said.
“The Adelaide Crows will clearly provide support, but it’s a big ask for a young man to go home on that sort of coin with that sort of pressure.
“He’ll kick the goals, I’ve got no problems with him hitting the scoreboard, but they need more than that. They need him to become a prime midfielder.
“It’s a big couple of years from this young man.”
Dal Santo acknowledged it’s “huge coin,” but believes it’s ultimately the “number you have to play to get good players”.
“If you don’t pay it, you don’t get the player you really want, so I accept it,” the St Kilda champion said.
“If it’s a little bit over, pay a little bit more. Take it off the guys who haven’t proven anything yet, I think they’re the ones who need to hand a bit of cash back.
“I think he’s got a bit of that rock star in him. I think he would embrace being in front of the spotlight day in, day out.”