IZAK Rankine did everything right – except kick a score – on his final set shot of Wednesday night's draw against Essendon, according to Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew.
With less than a minute remaining and scores level, Rankine took a contested mark just on the 50m arc as the clock ticked down.
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He took his full allotted time but dragged his shot well to the left and still 10m into the field of play.
Essendon killed the ball and time ran out.
"The message was 'next score wins, get it as close as possible'," Dew said.
"We knew the time. You know, have a shot and get it to the line, see if we get it over the line.
"He certainly tried that, but a lot of times when guys try that, they hook it."
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Dew said there was no chance to hand off to player that could kick longer – Essendon had that covered – and trying to pinpoint a pass to a congested forward 50 was not on.
Earlier in the night Rankine had caressed a goal from 50m on the run, so the journey appeared within him.
"He's 55 out, we're thinking he can at least get it to the line or kick it, does those regularly at training, but end of the game fatigue can be there," Dew said.
"If he played on straightaway and kicks a point, they've got a look at 30 seconds, which was a concern given the way they were moving the ball, so certainly think it was the right call.
"Basically, it's either a draw or we win."
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It was the third time in Rankine's six-game career he had a late shot to influence a result.
In his debut against Melbourne he had a kick from 35m to level scores with five minutes remaining, and against the Western Bulldogs he had a set shot from a tight angle he tugged to the left.
"The reason and he's got it is because of how good a player he is and he wants the ball," Dew said.
"He's going to win us more games than not."
Dew said the draw was hollow but a fair result after Gold Coast led for most of the night but were outplayed for long stretches.
Essendon coach John Worsfold was pleased with his team's single-minded approach to chase down an 18-point final quarter deficit, but will have to deal with an injury to veteran David Zaharakis.
The 30-year-old strained his right quadricep kicking a late goal that brought scores level.
"We'll get the exact diagnosis in the next day or so, but it's highly unlikely to be available for the next few weeks," Worsfold said.
Essendon has just four days to prepare for St Kilda at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.
After blowing a big lead in its previous match against Greater Western Sydney, Worsfold said the Bombers had a simple message when they trailed at half and three-quarter time.
"Not focusing on the scoreboard or what had happened in the first half, but working on the way we wanted to play the game," he said.
"I thought the players were outstanding in the way they committed to forgetting about the scoreboard and playing the style of footy we wanted to play.
"That was a strong theme and I heard the players consistently reminding themselves of that during the second half."
Meanwhile, Joe Daniher is closing in on playing his first scratch match for the year, with Worsfold confirming the key forward had increased his running as he returns from a calf strain.