Veteran journalist Caroline Wilson believes that pressure is mounting on Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew, with ex-Tiger Damien Hardwick in line to lead the Suns next season.

Speaking to 3AW Melbourne on Sunday, Dew stated that he'd "know first" if he lost his players' confidence.

Wilson responded to the Gold Coast coach's comments on Monday, revealing how close the Suns were to acquiring Alastair Clarkson last Autumn.

"Now there is a coach who is genuinely under pressure," she began on Footy Classified.

"Backtrack to April, early May last year. Alastair Clarkson, I don't care what anyone says, he was going to the Gold Coast.

"Money had been sorted, there was even an AFL stipend involved, ambassadorial money — it was very, very close to a done deal.

"And then of course, (Dew) started winning... the players really supported Dew, they started winning for him."

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26:Stuart Dew senior coach of the Suns after the final siren during the round 15 AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Gold Coast Suns at Adelaide Oval on June 26, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

It has been a similar story in season 2023, with the Suns winning four of the last six matches under Dew after a slow start to the season.

Midway into the home and away fixture, Gold Coast are four points outside the top eight, and could yet push for a maiden finals appearance.

Playing finals would be a monumental step for the AFL's 17th club, but Wilson suggests that the temptation to hire three-time premiership coach Hardwick will still mount pressure on Dew.

"A pass mark now is that (Dew) needs to make finals," Wilson said.

"But I think even then... as I sit here tonight I believe Damien Hardwick will be coaching the Gold Coast."

Hardwick announced his shocking departure from Richmond last week, and citing his inability to give 100% as a key reason for his decision.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick walks off at quarter time during the round 17 AFL between the Richmond Tigers and the Greater Wester Giants at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Amid speculation that Hardwick could return as soon as next season, Gold Coast will look at Dew's record over his six years at the helm of the club.

Out-of-contract by 2024, Dew has won just 29% of games as head coach, albeit with a young, developing list.

The emergence of midfield bulls Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, however, put Gold Coast on a winning trajectory in the future.

The Suns will face an important test against the Adelaide Crows in the Northern Territory on Saturday, in what may become a finals-shaping clash.