It's no secret that the Suns have struggled since their AFL inception.

At the moment, the club is stacked with impressive youth but must retain their most promising youngsters to have any chance of challenging for finals football in the near future.

Gold Coast's biggest current need is arguably a talented, ready-made presence, whether that be in the forward line, ruck, defence or midfield.

With senior coach Stuart Dew about to head into what seems like a make-or-break year, the young Suns need to rally together and start performing consistently.

So with that in mind, who could the Suns hypothetically steal to aid their finals push?

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Noah Anderson of the Suns celebrates a goal during the round 10 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the St Kilda Saints at Metricon Stadium on August 06, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Gaps in best 22

An up-and-coming key forward to pair with Ben King would be an ideal acquisition for the Suns, despite nabbing both Mabior Chol and Levi Casboult over the off-season.

In addition, a talented ruckman to aid the midfield and mentor draftee Mac Andrew is another likely player on Gold Coast's wish list.

Rebounding speed and disposal use off half-back is arguably another Gold Coast need heading into the 2022 season, with Oleg Markov currently serving as the Suns' most able speed threat coming out of defensive 50.

Finally, a veteran midfielder to assist the Suns' young midfield brigade (which includes the likes of Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Elijah Hollands) would be exactly what Stuart Dew is after, to provide leadership and guide his youngsters.

Candidates to steal

Option 1: Harry McKay

Pairing the 2021 Coleman medallist with Ben King in Gold Coast's forward line would be a dream come true for Suns fans.

Chol and Casboult were acquired during the exchange windows but they're not quite on the same level as McKay, who booted a league-best 58 goals (at three goals per game) last season.

Additionally, if King chooses to depart Queensland for Victoria come the expiry of his contract at the end of next season, McKay could still lead the forward line with the help from the likes of Chol and Casboult.

Option 2: Max Gawn

Gold Coast selected the 19-year-old Andrew with Pick 5 at November's National Draft, but the Egyptian-born ruckman is a raw prospect who will need time to develop before becoming the dominant presence most expect him to eventually be.

Furthermore, with Jarrod Witts nearing the latter stages of his career, a prime Max Gawn is exactly what the Suns need.

Not only is the 29-year-old Gawn prominent in the air and clean with the ball in his hands, but the current Melbourne premiership skipper also possesses leadership capabilities.

Gawn would be able to lead this young Suns side, while also helping mentor and develop an inexperienced Andrew coming into the league.

Option 3: Lachie Whitfield

The Suns lack a real line breaker off half-back. That's where Whitfield comes in.

With Jarrod Harbrow settling into retirement, Gold Coast don't have a commanding presence exiting defensive 50 that can collect the ball with ease and offer plenty of attack from defence.

Lachie Weller and Markov have proven to be impressive in stretches, and Connor Budarick is a promising prospect, but none offer the elite combination of speed and disposal precision (ranking in the top ten in the AFL in effective disposals per game in 2018 and 2020) that Whitfield does.

Option 4: Luke Parker

Touk Miller, Rowell, Anderson, Brandon Ellis and David Swallow are the current core midfield group at the Suns, but with Ellis and Swallow nearing the end of his career, a classy veteran midfielder is definitely a need for the Gold Coast.

With Hugh Greenwood departing for North Melbourne and the Suns opting for Andrew at Pick 5 instead of a midfield replacement, a Luke Parker-type acquisition makes enough sense for the Suns.

Parker, who averaged a career-best 27.9 disposals in 2021, would slot in nicely alongside Miller and Rowell and wouldn't only offer ball-winning and clearance dominance, but veteran leadership too.


Harry McKay makes the most sense for the Suns. He's currently the AFL's premier key forward and he's only now beginning to enter his prime, and Gold Coast could really use someone of his mould.

With Ben King a chance to explore his Victorian options in a year's time, the Suns will want insurance in case he departs, not to mention their overall need for another key forward to target inside 50.

Parker and Whitfield were heavily considered in front of the current Blues forward, but McKay's contested marking and goal-kicking prowess is too hard to ignore and would improve the Suns' list the most.