IT WASN'T quite Izak Rankine's night, but Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew is not too concerned.
The former No.3 draft pick that has taken the competition by storm in his first two games, squandered four final-quarter opportunities around goal in the Suns' five-point loss.
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Every time Rankine went near the ball, he looked like the most dangerous player on the field.
After a right-foot snap, shot on the run and left-foot snap all went astray earlier in the final term, he had a chance to level the score late with a set shot.
But it wasn't to be, with Rankine dragging his around-the-corner kick from the left pocket to the near side for his fourth behind.
"The hard part's getting the shots, isn't it?" Dew said post-match.
"I'm pretty sure when we sit back throughout his career he's going to kick more of those than he's missed.
"Plenty of players have missed a couple of goals, we just love the fact that he's playing with energy and creates a few headaches."
Rankine finished with 11 disposals, four marks and 1.4.
"Another - what did he have? Five shots on goal in his third game, so what's he up to? 15 now?" Dew said.
"I think we'll come in front with Izak."
Dew said although the narrow defeat was a missed opportunity, he couldn't question his players' commitment and heart.
"We're hurt, the players are disappointed and that's a good thing because we expect to win every game and feel like we can," he said.
"We're really proud of the playing group tonight. We had a five-day break, which we all know we've got to get used to, but ran the game out strongly and had a look (to win)."
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was full of praise for his defenders, saying the way they held up under a second-quarter avalanche paved the way for his team's victory.
Gold Coast had 16 inside 50s to five in that term but the Bulldogs managed to retain their two-point lead.
"It was a night of perseverance," Beveridge said.
"It's been a while since we won a close game.
"It's a good one for the memory banks and an important night for the lads."
While backmen Alex Keath, Zaine Cordy, Easton Wood and Bailey Williams all shone, Beveridge also singled out midfielder Jack Macrae for his 29-disposal, seven-clearance night.
One midfielder not on the park was Lachie Hunter after he was left out for personal reasons.
Beveridge said he didn't think it would be a long-term situation.
"Lachie's had a bit to deal with and used up a lot of energy in finding his way back," he said.
"He had to have an extra month off than what everyone did during the hiatus. He just needed a spell this week.
"We'll keep monitoring how he's going. We've just got to look after him.
"He'll come back into the side, I can't tell you when, but he'll be OK."