Suns coach to play hard ball with draft guns
SUNS coach Stuart Dew has vowed the club's crop of gun draftees would only play when they had earned a spot and not be gifted games to keep them happy on the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast had a draft night windfall securing Jack Lukosius (pick No.2), Izak Rankine (No.3) and Ben King (No.6) in the top 10.
The last time they had multiple picks in the top 10, at the 2016 draft, they immediately locked Jack Bowes, Ben Ainsworth, Will Brodie and Jack Scrimshaw away on long-term deals but it wasn't enough to keep Scrimshaw who became disgruntled and asked to be traded at the end of last season because he wasn't getting a senior game.
It is a selection dilemma that has dogged the club since their inception.
In the formative years they had no choice but to give games to draftees to fill a side and one of the problems the club's second coach Rodney Eade encountered was that it created a playing list where many younger players had not developed the work ethic required of an elite AFL player.
With co-captains Steven May and Tom Lynch both walking out on the club in his first year in charge, Dew knows his hopes of forging a successful career as a coach hinge on his ability to finally find a solution to the Suns' long running retention issues.
But that won't come at the expense of adequate development and creating genuine competition for positions.
"As a football club we would like to think we won't be playing people kids on the fear they would leave but playing them on their merits and how they behave around the football club as well,'' he said.
"I guess that is why we are searching for a healthy list and a big list to pick from so we can hold that true.''
Dew said all had the potential to play senior footy in their first season but as yet none had convinced the coaching panel they deserved to be there in Round 1.
"From what we have seen there is an opportunity there for them, but I think that is the pleasing part of this pre-season is that we are still having conversations around what we think the team might look like,'' he said.
"So across the coming months I think it is going to be tough and that is what we are after, we need pressure from within and be able to make changes when we need to but also reward good performances rather than I guess just having to let guys to continuously perform at a lower level.
"So we need to be able to reward but also hold accountability.''