Izak Rankine has requested a trade to join the Adelaide Crows. Image: AFL.com.au

After months of speculation, and reported offers from multiple clubs, exciting forward Izak Rankine has finally requested a trade to the Adelaide Crows.

With a highlight reel and brilliance the envy of almost every player in the AFL, the Suns forward is almost always at the forefront of unthinkable expectations heading into games.

Therefore, why should we be surprised at the fact that, like he is on the field, Rankine will be front-and-centre of the off-field spectacle in the AFL’s upcoming trade period.

The Suns were confident they had warded off opposition approaches to Rankine, most notably a significant pitch from the now embattled Bombers. But ultimately, the go-home factor and an attractive contract offer from Adelaide has proven too much for Gold Coast to overcome.

Rankine is set to join the Crows. The Suns will understandably ask for adequate compensation, starting with the Crows’ pick five in this year’s draft.

While all the innuendo and back-and-forth occurs over the next six weeks, let’s examine what the Crows are getting bringing in Rankine.

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Bringing a polished, unpredictable edge to a hard-nosed Adelaide attack

Blessed with some of the best goal sense in recent history, and with the sublime skills to match, Rankine’s knack for the spectacular could fit into any AFL forward line.

Behind simply targeting an Adelaide product, there’s a very distinct reason why the Crows have targeted a player of Rankine’s ilk. The Crows’ forward line came together towards the conclusion of their 2022 campaign, led by a rapid rise in the growth of Darcy Fogarty.

With Fogarty, recent pick two Riley Thilthorpe, and veteran Taylor Walker, the Crows’ tall-forward options appear settled for the moment. There remains a hole at their feet though, one they expect Rankine to come in and fill with aplomb.

Adelaide’s current crop of small-forwards, namely Ned McHenry, Lachie Murphy, and James Rowe, are all pressure players whose careers are still in question due to their lack of offensive production. The Crows desperately need Rankine to partner with 2021 first-round pick Josh Rachele, with the pair set to provide a frightening small to mid-sized combination.

Eventually, the Crows will hope that Rankine’s skills will be further utilised up the ground. More midfield time could allow him to become a 20 disposal per game player, which would ultimately make him a much more consistently damaging prospect.

Having Rankine and Jordan Dawson delivering the ball inside 50 will be a tantalizing look for Adelaide forwards, and presents as a salivating thought for fans right now. That’s also a pairing that balances beautifully with the contested ball-winning abilities of Rory Laird, Ben Keays, Sam Berry, and Jake Soligo.

Perhaps most importantly, at just 22 and with 48 games under his belt, Rankine can fill a need now and across the next decade or more. This isn’t a stab in the dark at the best available talent, but a concerted approach to a player who can develop and grow alongside the club’s exciting young core.

Adelaide will hope that Rankine can develop into a player that perhaps challenges Shai Bolton as the best mid-forward in the competition over the next 4-5 years.

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