GOLD Coast coach Stuart Dew said he would seek clarity from the AFL on treatment of young star Izak Rankine after the small forward was kept quiet in Saturday night's QClash loss to Brisbane.
Rankine was manned by Lions stopper Brandon Starcevich for the entire four quarters, keeping him to just 10 disposals and a single goal that came after the final siren.
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Both teams suffered injury blows in the entertaining clash, with Daniel Rich (concussion) and Charlie Ballard (knee) both expected to miss some time.
But after conceding the Lions outplayed his team in a dominant fourth quarter, Dew's concern turned to how Rankine was defended.
"Starcevich played well, I'm just going to have to get some clarity on how he's getting played at stoppages," Dew said.
"To my eye I think Izak's looking at the ball, I just need to get some clarity on how he's being defended.
"If that's open slather, then we can work out what we're dealing with and we can talk to Sean Lemmens and those types of guys to defend stoppages similar.
"I'm not having a whinge, I just think we need some clarity on what is possible. We can ask the question, I'm sure we can."
Rankine has had a magnificent season and regularly tried to shake Starcevich at forward stoppages, with Marcus Ashcroft Medal winner Touk Miller setting blocks for him.
But with help from Lachie Neale and the other Lions midfielders, they switched the match-ups quickly and were able to nullify the dynamic Sun close to goal.
Dew said despite Gold Coast now being two wins plus percentage outside the top eight with four matches remaining, he was not losing hope.
"Our effort was there, execution a little scattered throughout the game at key moments," he said.
"Our boys had a go, we're really proud of that. Brisbane is a quality side, very clinical.
"They don't give you any easy ones and we gave them quite a few easy ones.
"The aim is to win next week.
"If we worry about winning next week, playing well and winning well, that's all we can do.
"There'll be lots of teams getting written off, but different things can happen. We'll try and get our backyard sorted."
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan was all smiles following his team's second straight win – the first time it has strung successive victories together since round nine.
Fagan said his team was composed and calm in the decisive fourth quarter, when it kicked five goals to one to run away.
He said it "stood up to a good pressure test" against a quality opponent, but now had to turn its attention to playing Richmond at the MCG next Sunday and start building momentum towards September.
"We're still trying to work out our best (midfield) combination," he said.
"I know it's getting late in the season, but hopefully we can get it right over the next couple of weeks.
"The magnets on the board look better, but what we've got to do is get as many of them in good form as we can over the next few weeks, that's the key thing.
"A few of them were scratchy tonight, but hopefully that last quarter will give them confidence going forward."