A Suns star is still off-contract—and the Crows are preparing to pounce.
Plus the intriguing contract situation surrounding a young Magpies forward.
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CROWS KEEPING TABS ON SUNS STAR
Adelaide is making a major play for homegrown forward Izak Rankine in what would be one of the biggest coups of this year’s trade period.
Gold Coast officials have long been confident of retaining Rankine after already re-signing fellow South Australian Jack Lukosius, as well as Ben King, Ben Ainsworth, Elijah Hollands and Mac Andrew.
The Suns are also expected to soon ink Lachie Weller on a four-year contract.
Rankine, who was drafted from SANFL club West Adelaide with the No. 3 pick in the talent-laden 2018 class, is out of contract at season’s end but is not a free agent.
The Crows would likely need to part with their first-round draft selection, which is currently No. 4 after their weekend win over Carlton, if they convince Rankine to leave, but that may be only the start of what was required.
However, the 22-year-old’s contract status, and the possible threat of Adelaide grabbing him in the pre-season draft, could complicate any potential negotiations.
The Blues did exactly that with ex-Gold Coast footballer Jack Martin three years ago after discussions between the clubs broke down, heavily front-ending his deal to ward off other suitors.
Essendon already made a lucrative pitch to Rankine’s management this year to try to lure him to Victoria, with the young star’s career-best season catching rivals’ attention.
His agent, Garry Winter, of W Sports and Media, was previously on Adelaide’s board, and it could be worth up to $800,000 per season for Rankine to become a Crow on a long-term deal.
Rankine’s three-goal performance against West Coast on Sunday was his seventh match with multiple majors in 2022, along with averaging 14 disposals and six score involvements.
He would be a significant upgrade on rebuilding Adelaide’s small forward corps and could form a deadly duo with last year’s first-round draftee Josh Rachele.
Rachele’s 17 goals rank fourth at the Crows – behind tall targets Taylor Walker (42) and Darcy Fogarty (22), as well as spring-heeled forward Shane McAdam (18) – while Ned McHenry and James Rowe have each kicked only 10.
They sit in the bottom four on the ladder and for scoring, so Rankine would provide an excellent boost ahead of a season where Matthew Nicks’ team hopes to take a leap.
Adelaide’s list management team met with Melbourne goals neak Kade Chandler, another South Australian, during last year’s trade period before he decided to stay at the Demons.
The Crows were linked with Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley for many months but it’s now believed Port Adelaide would be the South Australian club he would join if he left the Kennel.
Dunkley’s girlfriend, Tippah Dwan, plays netball for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Asked last week about the delay in Rankine re-signing, Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew said they were “still confident” he would be at the club in 2023.
“There’s always a process. Things happen at different rates and different speeds,” Dew said.
“A number of contracts we’ve done have actually taken longer, so as long as the conversations are happening, that’s where the confidence comes from.
“It’s when it goes quiet (that you get concerned), and it’s certainly not like that – the dialogue’s still there.”
HENRY, PIES ‘NOT OVERLY CLOSE’ TO FRESH CONTRACT
Collingwood and young forward Ollie Henry are “not overly close” on signing a new deal, but both parties remain confident a contract will be signed soon, reports SEN’s Sam Edmund.
Henry has had a promising yet rollercoaster 2022 season with the Magpies so far, booting 21.15 from 14 games. He started as the sub against Freo in Round 10 but came on to kick 4.1, while he was the unused medical sub against the Adelaide Crows in Round 18 and has spent the past two weekends in the VFL, booting 4.2 and 3.1 respectively.
The 20-year-old is uncontracted beyond this season. In May I told AFL Media he wasn’t in a rush to sign a new contract but declared he was “loving his time at Collingwood”.
Edmund reported on SEN Breakfast on Tuesday that talks between Henry’s management and the Magpies were ongoing, adding they’d met “in the last week or two”.
“Not overly close at this stage at Collingwood, but I think this one gets worked out. Both parties expect that to be the case,” Edmund told SEN Breakfast.
“The Pies want him to stay and Henry wants to stay, but with (Dan) McStay coming in there’s some things to work out around what his future looks like on game day.”
“I think they’ll get there, no real reason to think otherwise at this stage. It just needs to be worked through with the pieces coming back the other way like Dan McStay and the like.”