K rock Football

Demons win denies Rankine fairytale

FAST-finishing Melbourne have scored a much-needed win to deny exciting Gold Coast debutant Izak Rankine a fairytale AFL start in Sydney.

The Dees kicked the last three goals of Saturday evening’s match at Giants Stadium for a 12.8 (80) to 9.9 (63) win – their first victory in three games.

Gold Coast’s disappointment at losing first-year sensation Matt Rowell last week to a long-term injury was eased by an eye-catching debut from the 20-year old Rankine.

The No.3 pick in the 2018 draft didn’t play a senior game last season because of hamstring and hip problems but immediately lived up to the hype.

He kicked 3.3 and displayed skill In evading a couple of defenders and swivelling onto his right foot and steering the ball through for a goal with his first kick.

Rankine produced another special moment in the third quarter, toeing the ball through a pack of players before kicking it off the ground.

He then set up Brandon Ellis for the midfielder’s second long-distance goal.

The exciting youngster stole a Max Gawn tap to kick his third and added a behind from wide out to level the scores in the last quarter.

The Suns made the early running, leading by the first change after laying nine more tackles in the opening term.

Melbourne lifted their intensity considerably in the second quarter, piling on 26-straight points and having the first 11 inside 50s.

The Demons led by 18 points, but the Suns capitalised on errors to kick the last two goals of the quarter to trail by seven at halftime.

Melbourne took a three-point lead into the final term and kicked the first goal on resumption before Rankne’s third and a further behind from the debutant levelled the scores.

Set-shot goals to Sam Weideman, Christian Petracca and Harley Bennell, his first for the club, iced the win.

Melbourne lost key forward Tom McDonald who left the game in the first quarter after getting poked in the eye.

(C) AAP 2020

MELBOURNE 2.1 6.5 8.8 12.8 (80)

GOLD COAST 3.2 5.4 8.5 9.9 (63)

Goals: Melbourne: B Fritsch 2 C Petracca 2 S Weideman 2 C Salem H Bennell J Harmes J Melksham M Hannan M Hibberd. Gold Coast: I Rankine 3 B Ellis 2 B Ainsworth B Fiorini B King L Weller.

Umpires: Jacob Mollison, Brett Rosebury, Brendan Hosking, Jamie Broadbent.

Venue: Giants Stadium.