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Unpacking the timeline that led to Stuart Dew's sacking at the Gold Coast Suns


When Stuart Dew was told he had been sacked on Monday night, the news did not come as a complete surprise to Gold Coast’s longest serving coach.

Dew had been wary of footy boss Wayne Campbell and CEO Mark Evans for some time, and Caroline Wilson’s report last Monday had only heightened his sense of vulnerability.

Fairly or otherwise, Dew felt as if these two senior figures were not supporting him. He had been around football long enough to know this spelt trouble.

He was incensed insiders at the Suns were leaking against him, which is why he decided to do an interview with Mark Robinson of the Herald Sun. He was as disappointed as he was angry. SEN is not suggesting Campbell or Evans were the leakers.

At 8am on Tuesday, Gold Coast’s leaders were told their coach for the past six seasons had been sacked.

At 9am, the rest of the playing group was informed at the club’s headquarters.

They had arrived for a normal day of training, but were quickly told there would be a meeting and the rest of the day would be theirs to do as they pleased.

Evans, Campbell and president Bob East – who only recently arrived back from an overseas holiday – all spoke.

East told the players the club’s ambition is to play finals and win a flag in the next two or three years, “not the next 10 years.”

He said the decision to sack Dew was tough, but the right one if the Suns are to have that ambition.

Campbell told the players to stick together in these tough times.

Then co-captains Jarrod Witts and Touk Miller had their say. Both leaders are hugely respected and had good relationships with Dew.

There has been no suggestion of a player rebellion or falling out with Dew.

Players were told if they had any queries, concerns, or questions, they could voice them later in the week to Campbell, Evans or any other senior staffer.

Monday was a scheduled day off for the football department and after the Dew news, Tuesday became a day off too.

Wednesday is a scheduled day off so the next time the entire group is together will be Thursday.

That's when Steven King, a well-liked assistant coach, will take over on an interim basis.

Dew was well liked. He had not lost the playing group or his coaching colleagues. But there was an overriding feeling the club needed a change of leadership to get the most out of their list.

This is why the decision was made.

Dew has felt for some time he should have had more support from Evans in particular, which is ironic given Evans’ public declaration of faith last week.

As is often the case in these situations, this was just a smokescreen. Dew’s days were numbered and he knew it.

He will be paid out six months of his salary due to Gold Coast being an AFL-supported club. That's likely around $300,000. He was contracted until the end of 2024.

Sources have suggested Dew became annoyed that Campbell would fly in and out from Sydney, where his family lives. Those who support Campbell argue where he spends his days off has no impact on his ability to do his job.

Had Gold Coast lost one or both of its Round 11 and Round 12 games, it’s likely Dew would have been sacked then.

But they won, which delayed the final decision until after Round 17.

Dew lost three of his last four games in charge. Carlton was a bad loss, Collingwood they played poorly, and Port Adelaide was hardly unexpected.

Dew remains highly regarded around the league. He won't have any issue finding a new role at a fresh club, likely as a senior assistant.

But he feels burned. It's now clear whatever relationship he had with Evans and Campbell is severely tarnished, maybe forever.

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