It worked a few times, and some other times it didn’t, but what it did do was eliminate plenty of the clean turnovers that have dogged them in 2020.
Max Gawn was excellent around the ground and with his tap-work while Melbourne’s better midfielders like Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney were assured enough, despite some characteristic slip ups, to drive their team to a vital victory.
In a nice touch it was former Suns player Harley Bennell who had the last kick of the game, a goal, to leave the Demons in a frenzy after the final siren.
WORTH THE WAIT
The only time footy fans might have been as excited to watch a Gold Coast Suns game as they were this week was for Gary Ablett’s 2011 debut match for the club, or last week’s brief Matt Rowell versus Joel Selwood clash.
This week, Rankine made his belated debut, and as instant gratification goes the no.3 pick from the 2018 draft delivered promptly.
With his first touch he bounced the footy up to himself like a basketball, swiftly gathered, baulked James Harmes and then snapped a goal from 30 metres out as his body spun.
“I’ve seen that a few times, hopefully see it a few more,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said during the broadcast.
Then in the third term he forced a ball through a maul into space and instead of gathering it he kicked the ball off the ground and through the goals from a difficult position.
His final quarter goal was incredible too, sharking Gawn’s tap at a stoppage and bursting to goal.
It was joyful, instinctive footy of the likes we rarely see, but there was a reminder of how raw the 20-year-old remained minutes later in the first term when his defensive 50 turnover led to a goal.
LEAVE THE WEED
Weideman played his first game for Melbourne since round 16 in 2019 and on Saturday night he showed that if he, at a minimum, contests every time he flies for the ball he should always be in the Demons side.
He had to shoulder most of the load without Tom McDonald too, who before going off with an injured eye in the first term, was doing a good job at providing a leading marking option in between the arcs for the Demons.
Gawn did a super job filling in for him as an option.
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.