IZAK Rankine debuted at SANFL level as a 16-year-old, was named an under-18 All Australian as a 17-year-old and this year was the only player to win that honour again. In terms of draft CVs, there aren't many that are as good as Rankine's.

It's why Rankine has been one of the most hyped players in the 2018 draft pool – someone who produces eye-catching moments regularly and will be picked expected to play regular AFL footy next season.

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Last year, while playing in the under-17s NAB AFL All Stars 'futures' game, Rankine was so dominant for his side that they made him swap teams at half-time to even up the contest, and in the title-deciding game of this year's under-18 carnival, it was Rankine who set up the win in the first quarter by kicking three goals and finishing with five to lead his state to victory. 

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Some recruiters think if the classy ball-user was in the 2017 draft he would have been a top-10 selection and played a significant amount of footy at the top level this season. He appears ready for his next challenge.

There's a fair few things going in Rankine's favour. He has senior experience and form at that level, and has shown across the past two years that he lifts for the games that matter. He enjoys the crowd, plays with creativity and pizazz, and wants the ball in his hands.

Rankine showed his pace and movement at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, when he won the agility test with a time of 8.039 seconds and came third overall in the 20-metre sprint, running 2.93 seconds. Rankine plays quick, too, regularly taking the game on, tucking the ball under his arm and going for it. He believes nobody can catch him.

Rankine is deadly around goal, tough at the contest and doesn't shirk an issue, and has some charisma to light up a game and know when to take control. He will be able to be used in the midfield and also as a half-forward, and he has the mature body to be able to make an impact at AFL level next year.  

His form at the start of the season may have left a little to be desired, and at times this year Rankine admitted to floating through games. His consistency is something that could take a little while to mould.

But in terms of his game there isn't too much to be concerned about. His 2km time trial at the Combine wasn't great – he was ranked in the bottom half of testers with a finish of 6:56 minutes – but his YoYo test the previous day was solid (level 21.2). 

And it's worth noting Rankine trained as a midfielder during a stint at Adelaide as part of the NAB AFL Academy and kept up with the main group during an intense session, so he has shown he can do it when in top shape.

There's a bit of Chad Wingard in the way Rankine moves in the forward line and how he's regularly a threat. He doesn't have the same presence in the air as Wingard, but Rankine can change games in matter of moments like the new Hawk.

Rankine has been touted as a top-line pick for some time. Clubs at the top of the order are discussing him, knowing if they pass he could make them regret it in the future. Gold Coast, St Kilda, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs will all consider closely. 


We are looking at the most talented player in the pool and one who could shape games for a long time. Nobody in this year's draft has a highlights package as exciting as Rankine's: he should thrill fans.