Was it one Rising Star contender out, another Rising Star contender in for the Suns?
After Matt Rowell’s injury against Geelong much of the media spent the week discussing whether he had done enough in five rounds to win the Rising Star Award. It will be interesting, after Izak Rankine’s electrifying debut against Melbourne, whether their opinions remain the same.
After spending the 2019 season on the sidelines due to injury, the number three pick in the 2018 draft quickly lived up to the pregame hype. After hitting the scoreboard with his first kick he would end up with 3.3 for the night and a number of special moments for his highlight reel.
How the Game Was Won
The Demons responded in the best way possible after a week of being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Desperate and determined they outplayed the Suns for much of the game as was reflected in the clearance, contested possessions and inside 50’s. Despite this they needed to call upon all their fighting qualities as the scoreboard never truly represented this dominance.
As is often the case, skipper Max Gawn was the Demons best player but it would be the form of a pair of his much maligned midfielders that would have most pleased Simon Goodwin. Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney were much more damage with ball in hand after having their disposal questioned during the week.
When Suns debutant Izak Rankine levelled the scores 12 minutes into the final quarter it looked liked he stolen the momentum for his team but it would be Melbourne who responded best. With the game on the line and time running out they would score not once but three times to secure a long awaited and thoroughly deserved four premiership points.
What the Coaches Said
Simon Goodwin was bullish post match while acknowledging room for improvement. “We still need to get better, we still need to play better footy but we’re right in this season and we are going to continue to try and progress forward,” Goodwin told reporters. “We think we have got the capability to play some really outstanding footy.
“It [belief] has been there all year and we have played some really strong teams over the last three weeks and we are two and three. We are certainly not in a poor position. We have still got a lot of work to do … Our season is rolling now and another big challenge next week. I am incredibly proud of our club.”
With the Demons scoring seven goals from turnovers, Stuart Dew lamented his teams decision making post match. “At different times we can just take the easy one (rather than) bite off more than we can chew,” he said post match. “Good teams make you pay, they were really good on the inside but there were periods when we matched them. We had our opportunities, Gettable goals but turnovers in the end we didn’t adjust to that. We didn’t get a feel for the game and that’s where the frustration kicks in.”
MELBOURNE 2.1 6.5 8.8 12.8 (80)
GOLD COAST 3.2 5.4 8.5 9.9 (63)
Melbourne: Fritsch 2, Weideman 2, Petracca 2, Harmes, Salem, Hibberd, Melksham, Hannan, Bennell
Gold Coast: Rankine 3, Ellis 2, Weller, King, Fiorini, Ainsworth
Melbourne: Gawn, Viney, Petracca, Oliver, Hannan, May, Langdon
Gold Coast: Miller, Rankine, Ballard, Collins, Greenwood, Lukosius
Melbourne: McDonald (right eye)
Gold Coast: Holman (ribs)