GOLD Coast chief executive Mark Evans expects the club to contend for a first-ever AFL finals appearance next season as he weighs up the future of coach Stuart Dew.
The Suns have been repeatedly linked to a play for coaching legend Alastair Clarkson, who is taking a year off in 2022 after leaving Hawthorn.
But they have publicly backed Dew as the man to lead them forward, at least in the short-term, following a review and restructure of their football department this year.
Dew, who took the reins at the end of 2017, has one season left to run on his contract.
The AFL’s problem-child, Gold Coast are yet to qualify for a finals series after 11 years in the competition, having come closest with 10 wins in 2014.
Dew led the Suns to a 7-15 record last year – the best result of his four seasons at the helm so far – and Evans has his sights set on further improvement in 2022.
“That improvement should take us towards a pretty special time towards the end of the season where we’re contending for finals,” Evans said.
“We’ve worked hard and told people repeatedly that we’re here to put the best support we can around Stuey.
“We back him, he’s a good coach and very connected to our young players and it’s about seeing that come out on the field for longer stretches of the season than we have previously.”
Gold Coast’s football department restructure has seen the arrival of respected administrator Wayne Campbell as football manager and former Western Bulldogs senior assistant Steven King as Dew’s new right-hand man.
Former Melbourne and Richmond forward Brad Miller has also joined as forwards coach, with the Suns considering bringing in one more coach in a development capacity.
(C) AAP 2021