Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew is contracted until the end of 2022, but in between now and then there is likely to be plenty of speculation about his job.
Losses by 98 points and a lack of annual improvement will only bring on such discussion.
Chatter surrounding soon-to-depart Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has already commenced, with the Suns seen as the type of project the four-time premiership coach could be prepared to take on.
But there is another potential option that has been floated in AFL circles.
Journalist Sam McClure believes Geelong coach Chris Scott has been somewhat sounded out about the possibility of heading north to help steer the young club in the right direction.
Scott currently has the Cats sitting pretty in second position and right in the mix for the 2021 flag, but if he is successful this year, could a shift to the Gold Coast be an appealing prospect?
“I’m saying that there are people in high places at the AFL who will ask the question of Chris Scott and think they are a fairly good chance of getting him,” McClure said on Sportsday.
“Particularly if Geelong won the flag this year. Don’t rule that out.”
McClure revisited the topic on Channel 9’s Footy Classified, while adding that Clarkson will also be viewed by the Suns as someone who could take the reins.
“This has been long talked about inside the corridors of the AFL,” he added.
“I even think as recently as the last few weeks before Steve Hocking left to be CEO of Geelong, that Chris Scott was being pushed by Hocking and other senior figures in the AFL.
“Whether that was before he knew that he was going to be CEO of Geelong or whether it was at another time, I can’t tell you, but there are people at the AFL who believe that Chris Scott, particularly if he wins another premiership with Geelong this year, could be someone that is available.
“Alastair Clarkson is clearly someone that (CEO) Mark Evans and the Gold Coast Suns reach out to, as I’m sure Carlton will, as I’m sure Dave Matthews at GWS will with Leon Cameron out of contract next year.”
From a Suns point of view, they see themselves going forward with Dew in charge and will seek to assist him further by assessing his staff at the end of the season.
Even if CEO Mark Evans did not necessarily publicly back him in for the role beyond 2021.
“He’s got some terrific parts of his coaching, but like every young coach he’ll have things he’s working on and it’s up to us to support that,” he said on Sportsday when asked about Dew’s future.
“I think we’ve got to do some assessment at the end of the year as to what areas we’ve cut with the soft cap and have we done the right thing there.
“If we need to beef up some things to make sure his development and the progress of the club tracks better, then that’s what we’ll do.”
And on the Clarkson links?
“We would do anything to make our club better,” Evans added.
“We’d be quite open to put support around the development of Stuart and the rest of our football program, there’d be 17 clubs who would love to have Alastair Clarkson involved.
“Without having spoken to anyone, we would just do anything we could to make our place better and if that was him being involved, terrific.”
McClure’s colleagues Gerard Healy and Matthew Lloyd assessed the situation, indicating they are concerned about the Suns and their inability to improve their players.
“I think if Geelong won the flag everything is on the table,” Healy said of the Chris Scott talk.
“It doesn’t matter who is coaching, they need some more senior bodies for any coach to get the best out of those kids, because those kids are tired.”
Lloyd added: “This is the reason that I think that they won’t get anybody of note again for another year because of they way they’re finishing their season.”
“To me it’s a bit of a graveyard. They’ve had two All-Australians in their history, which is Tom Lynch and Gary Ablett, hopefully Touk Miller becomes the third this year. You go up there as a draftee or as a secondary player, but you don’t enhance (your game).
“(Ben) Ainsworth, (Jack) Bowes, (Izak) Rankine, (Jack) Lukosius, they aren’t what they should be.”
Healy concluded: “My issue with the Suns is a lot of their good players aren’t getting better.”
“They’re still good at what they were good at, but they’re not filling in around their weaknesses.”
Since the start of 2018, the Suns’ season-by-season win-loss record under Dew has gone 4-18, 3-19, 5-1-11 and 6-13 this year.
With big-name coaches seemingly hovering around, is Dew the man to continue on in the job with these results?