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Suns sack Dew as another finals twilight looms

Gold Coast have sacked coach Stuart Dew as the Suns appear destined for a 13th-straight AFL season without playing finals.

Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt

Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt

Dew has been let go with a year to go on his contract as Gold Coast almost certainly prepare to make a play for three-time Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick.

“It’s an emotional time for him and the club,” captain Touk Miller told reporters on Tuesday, declining to elaborate on how it will impact the Suns’ unlikely finals tilt.

“Our thoughts are with him, his family and what he’s done for this club.”

The 43-year-old’s axing comes just six days after chief executive Mark Evans stepped in to stand alongside Dew at his weekly press conference.

Evans offered a qualified defence of the under-fire coach following Gold Coast’s horror 78-point loss in a sold-out home game against Collingwood on July 1.

He also denied any approach had been made to Hardwick following the former Tigers coach’s exit from Punt Rd in May.

“I’ve said time and time again, Stuey’s our coach, contracted for this year and next year. If he does a good job, he’ll be contracted well into the future,” Evans said.

“All I can say is that he’s got my support to get on with the job, manage our players and staff as well as we can.”

Dew, who took charge in 2018, led the Suns to a club-best, 10-win season in 2022 and things looked promising when they entered the bye at 6-6.

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But heavy losses to Carlton and the Magpies, split by a win over Hawthorn, halted any momentum they had following memorable victories over Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs in Darwin.

Dew was appointed Gold Coast’s third full-time coach following Guy McKenna and Rodney Eade’s stints with the club that entered the AFL in 2011.

Evans and Suns chair Bob East will front a press conference at club headquarters from 11.30am on Tuesday.

“We feel we have a great opportunity to achieve success with this group but haven’t seen the improvement we were after in 2023 and as a football club we must be prepared to make tough decisions, in that pursuit of success,” East said in a statement.

“Stuart has made a significant contribution to this football club, dedicating countless hours towards helping establish a platform from which our club can grow, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him, his wife Sarah and family for the last six years.”

Suns assistant Steven King will fill in as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Hardwick departed the Tigers in May after 14 years at the helm and has spent time travelling.

However, the 50-year-old confirmed last month he was determined to return to coaching following a break.

“I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t see myself doing it,” Hardwick told the Dyl and Friends podcast.

“I love it. I miss it. I’ve been out for two weeks and I wanted to miss it, if that made sense.”

-AAP

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