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Suns boss denies Hardwick talks, backs Stuart Dew


Gold Coast Suns coach Stewart Dew has the support of Suns boss Mark Evans. Picture: Jason O'Brien.

Gold Coast boss Mark Evans says Damien Hardwick hasn't been sought out to replace Stuart Dew as the chief executive offered a qualified defence of the under-fire AFL coach.


The Suns' horror 78-point loss to Collingwood on Saturday put a dent in the club's finals ambitions and rekindled speculation about Dew's future.


Richmond's three-time premiership-winning coach Hardwick stepped down midway through this season but said last month he was keen to coach again.


Dew is contracted until next season but on Wednesday was again forced to field questions about his future, with Evans a late call-up to join him in his weekly press conference.


"I've got a coach, this club's got a coach," Evans said.


"There would be no reason why we would buy into comments about who's available. It serves no purpose."


Pressed again on if he had spoken to Hardwick, Evans said, "Absolutely not... It was a tough loss; we'd worked ourselves up, full house against Collingwood," he added.


"(But) you should judge performance over medium to long term... If you get stuck in the weekly cycle you'll be champions one week and chumps the next."

Dew, now in his sixth season at the helm, led the Suns to a club-best, 10-win season in 2022 and things looked promising when they entered the bye at 6-6.


But heavy losses to Carlton and the Magpies, split by a win over Hawthorn, mean they'll likely need six wins from the final eight games to reach a maiden finals campaign.


"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 offered.


"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."


But Evans couldn't guarantee Dew was safe if the club's results didn't improve in the final third of the season.


"Come back and ask me then," he said.


Dew said he didn't need to seek assurances from Evans about his future.

"We're always having those conversations," he said.


"I'm really clear where I sit ... but I also understand we're in a performance industry.

"I wasn't looking for sympathy ... I'll get on my with my job because I love it."


It gets no easier for Gold Coast against second-placed Port Adelaide on the road this weekend, the Power currently riding a 12-game winning streak.


Midfield general Touk Miller, sidelined for nine weeks with a knee injury, is set to return in some good news for the Suns.


"We're not being negligent, he's been full training for a few weeks and we're pretty keen to get him straight in," Dew said of his co-captain.


"But we also have to be mindful he has missed some time in the game … don't expect Touk to be the Touk Miller of the last two years instantly but we also expect that if we pick him he plays his role."


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