Gold Coast small forward Izak Rankine's poor AFL form has cost the youngster, with the Suns dumping the 21-year-old back to the reserves.
The No.3 pick at the 2018 draft, Rankine managed just seven disposals in last weekend's loss to Brisbane at the Gabba and went without a goal for the third straight game.
It continues a worrying trend in 2021 for the South Australian product who has struggled of late to make an impact on matches, failing to get over 10 disposals in six of his past 10 games.
Suns coach Stuart Dew said Rankine would play with the club's VFL team this weekend in a bid to regain some form and confidence.
"Probably his last three weeks he hasn't had the impact that he would like and so we're going to get him to go back to the VFL and play a game there to regain confidence," Dew said.
"It's not unusual. In football terms he's in his second year, having his first year wiped out.
"His output's still been okay but we think this is a lever that we'd like to pull at this stage of the year to just give him a bit of confidence."
Rankine's axing ends a 30-game streak in the senior team since his debut last year against Melbourne.
While Rankine bows out of the Suns' line up to face the high-flying Demons on Saturday, there will be an AFL debut for Darwin product Joel Jeffrey.
The 19-year-old kicked nine goals in Gold Coast's VFL win over Aspley last weekend and Dew said the selection was reward for good performances by the youngster.
"He just comes in with confidence and with a really good month to six weeks behind him," Dew said.
Australian Associated Press