Rankine, Thompson eye returns for AFL Suns

Murray Wenzel
Rory Thompson, who missed the 2019 season, could return for Gold Coast when the AFL resumes

Izak Rankine could be thrust straight into an AFL debut when the code returns while key Gold Coast defender Rory Thompson's progress is also boosting captain David Swallow's spirits.

Thompson missed the 2019 season with an ACL tear but impressed Swallow when the pair recently ran together and is in the frame as the AFL eyes a late-June resumption.

The captain said Rankine (hamstring) could also debut "straight away" while veteran pair Pearce Hanley and Jarrod Harbrow had also recovered from niggles that saw them miss their opening-round hiding from Port Adelaide.

Hoping to snap a 19-game losing streak, Swallow said the extra time to heal wounds had been a blessing as he prepared to welcome back the remainder of the squad's interstate players by the weekend.

Livewire forward Rankine has endured multiple injury setbacks since arriving as 2018's third draft pick and his first taste of the top flight would provide the Suns with a much-needed spark.

But the return of key defender Thompson could have an even greater impact.

"He can take the (opposition's) No.1 forward," Swallow said.

"Sam Collins was given that job at the start of last year, but we recruited him as more of an intercept mark player.

"So hopefully we'll be able to free him up a bit more and even just give a bit more versatility and extra depth."

Rankine had already returned from his South Australian home to fast-track his recovery, while Ben King, Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Jack Lukosius will be on deck within days.

It leaves Irish recruit Luke Towey, who will have to quarantine once he does return, as the sole squad member not on deck awaiting a return to full training.

Swallow has been incorporating some extra surfing and open water swimming sessions into his routine.

Asked about the Adelaide Crows breaking social distancing protocols, the skipper said his men needed no reminders to toe the line.

"The club certainly have been trying to echo that message across to all our players, especially given that training is hopefully resuming soon, that hopefully we don't have any of those slip-ups," he said.