Suns draftees Ben King, Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius.
Suns draftees Ben King, Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius.

Suns bullish about keeping young stars

GOLD Coast says it has a wealth of captaincy options as it creates a seven-person "personal excellence centre" to help retain its new draftees.

The Suns will this summer bring in 25 new staff and players as it attempts to stem the bleeding after a talent drain that includes its two co-captains.

But while there are already predictions of a winless season and struggles to retain Victorian tall Ben King, the Suns are bullish about their prospects.

Football boss Jon Haines said the Suns would this summer undergo a major restructuring of their welfare and leadership programs.

An injection of cash from the AFL will help fund a club that has lagged behind all other clubs in football department spending.

Highly-rated coach and administrator Shaun Hart will head up a program that will oversee welfare, leadership and player development.

Gold Coast’s top-10 draftees Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Ben King.
Gold Coast’s top-10 draftees Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Ben King.

He will be joined by Matt Kennedy and Darren Rumble as well as sports psychologists Tristan Coulter and Cliff Mallett.

By the time the Suns hire staffers in new female and indigenous roles they believe they will be have the ideal program to develop their emerging stars.

"We are taking responsibility for the development of these young men and we need to resource it appropriately,'' Haines said.

"We couldn't be more thrilled with the people in those roles and the design of the program.

"When we have communicated it to parents in the last few days leading into the draft their eyes light up in terms of the support and curriculum we will put around these guys."

Gold Coast midfielders Touk Miller and David Swallow. Picture: Mike Batterham
Gold Coast midfielders Touk Miller and David Swallow. Picture: Mike Batterham

The club has lost its last three captains in Gary Ablett, Steven May and Tom Lynch, with David Swallow and Touk Miller potential captaincy contenders.

"We will work through that process," Haines said.

"It's a really integrated program and we did a number of leadership audits through the year to see how our players perceive each other.

"We will undertake that over the summer and the players will have a strong input but also so will the coaching group."

Lachie Weller, Jack Bowes and Brayden Fiorini are also seen as young emerging leaders for Stuart Dew's Suns.