It was a performance filled with enough excitement for a year of football.
That’s how long Izak Rankine had to wait to make his highly-anticipated AFL debut, but when he finally got the opportunity in Round 6 he delivered in spades.
The 20-year-old was electrifying in his first game of AFL football, kicking three goals that encapsulated the type of player he is.
His impressive debut was capped off with a Round 6 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination, but Rankine said he was just pleased to get the first one in the books.
“It was a long journey but I was happy to finally get to that first game and tick it off,” Rankine said.
“I really tried my best and obviously hit the scoreboard but also laid a few tackles and played my role for the team in the forward line.
“Now I’m just focussed on the next week.”
Rankine’s first goal came with his first touch of the football; winning the football then using a crafty evasive manoeuvre to find enough space to snap over his shoulder from 40 metres out.
His next was just as impressive, tapped to his own advantage then soccered off the ground from an acute angle.
The crazy thing is, these types of goals are just normal stock and trade for someone like Izak Rankine.
“I guess they were just pretty instinctive,” he said.
“I’ve been doing that all growing up so it comes pretty natural.
“I pretty much just got the ball and already knew where the goals were so I snapped it and the second one I obviously just kicked it towards the goal and it rolled through.
“I was pretty happy and pumped, it was good to hit the scoreboard.”
He had a major impact on the game, reflected with his four AFL Coaches Association votes, but it wasn’t enough to get his first win in SUNS colours.
Rankine said that was the goal this weekend as the team looks to rectify this week’s result with a full game of high pressure against the Swans on Saturday afternoon.
“I think it’s just that consistency – we need to be able to do it over four quarters,” Rankine said.
“We know our brand of footy and we knew we didn’t hit those benchmarks on the weekend.
“But we know when we play our best footy we can beat any side.”