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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

Hardwick the man for Suns; Eade

Former Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade says he feels for his successor Stuart Dew after he was sacked from the club’s coaching position.

The Suns backed Dew in the face of media speculation last week but announced yesterday that he had been terminated after six years in charge, with the Port Adelaide and Hawthorn premiership player finishing with a 36-1-84 record from 121 games.

Eade, who coached the Suns from 2015 to 2018, told Sports Breakfast the role at the frontier club comes with some unique challenges.

“You felt sorry for him, no doubt,” Eade said.

“You feel more empathy for him because last week when the rumour was about, he said publicly he went to Mark Evans and got the go-ahead he was going to be the coach.

“It’s changed within a week, so you feel for him in that he’s been a bit blindsided. It would’ve been a bit of a shock.”

Three-time Richmond premiership coach Damian Hardwick, who cited burnout as his reason for resigning from the Tigers job in May, has been strongly linked to the position.

Eade said he expects the AFL, who owns the club, to have a strong say in the process.

“I would think Hardwick would be number one, on top of the list, if he wants to go there. He wouldn’t need to go through an interview,” he said.

“I would think from a marketing point of view, but also a coaching point of view, an experienced coach with success like Damien would be top of the list. That’s only common sense.

“I would think he’d have the front running if he wanted to go there.”

The Suns are yet to make a finals appearance after 13 years in the national competition and questions over their long-term viability have again been raised in the wake of the sacking, but Eade said having a second Queensland team was important from a strategic perspective.

“There’s exceptional talent. They’ve got a vast area, Northern Queensland but now they’ve got the Northern Territory as well,” he said.

“The money that they’ve put in and the effort over a long period of time is starting to show some fruit.

“I think having the Suns there is more beneficial than just TV rights and having an extra licence, I think the development of the game is crucial.”

The Suns currently sit 13th on the AFL ladder with a 7-9 record ahead of their clash with St Kilda at Heritage Bank Stadium this Saturday.



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