Gold Coast football boss Wayne Campbell remains optimistic the Suns can re-sign their trio of off-contract young stars for 2022 and beyond, with the year ahead framing as a critical one for the Queensland club.
The Suns enter this year unfavoured to reach the top eight, a benchmark the club has failed to meet in their 11 seasons in the AFL.
Their lowly journey in the league has stemmed from a number of differing factors, but one standout has been the club's inability to retain promising young players for the future.
The club will be met with further contractual pressure in 2022, as three of their most valued rising stars are yet to recommit to the club past the end of this year.
Key forward Ben King, utility Jack Lukosius and livewire Izak Rankine currently remain out-of-contract and are likely to be circled by rival clubs, with the latter duo to be of great interest to South Australian sides.
King has already had his name closely linked with St Kilda in reuniting with his brother Max, while the Bombers are another side tipped to show interest in the 21-year-old this season.
Despite the current situations surrounding the highly-touted trio, Campbell has expressed his confidence in the Suns' youthful contingent extending their careers at Carrara.
“The feedback from them has been really positive,” Campbell told News Corp.
“They walk around with a smile on their face. They are really committed to the Gold Coast and the Gold Coast Suns.
“They love being up here and we are really relaxed with where it is at. It seems positive.
“We would love their signature (now) but it’s not something we wake up everyday thinking about.”
King is arguably the most valued asset for the Suns, having booted 47 goals last season to finish seventh on the Coleman Medal leaderboard.
Lukoisus hasn't been able to define his leading role for the Suns, having been utilised as a forward target, defensive outlet and wing option last season.
Rankine's form has been met with some inconsistency, however his best brand of football places him on a path as one of the most exciting forwards in the league.
Collectively, all three off-contract Suns guns could demand large bumper deals for their next extensions, with rival clubs sure to offer significant fees in hope of luring their services interstate.
A looming factor Suns players will be considering in their contract calls will be the club's senior coaching position, with Stuart Dew also having his deal with the club expire at season's end.
Dew has been able to show some promise in rebuilding the Suns' list, however another lowly finish could spell the end of his tenure on the Gold Coast.
The Suns have seen a boost in retention signings under Dew's watch, with no recent re-signing bigger than All-Australian midfielder Touk Miller, who inked a five-year deal with the club last year.
Gold Coast will also need to plan the future of a bevy of other off-contract players this year, with Ben Ainsworth, Darcy Macpherson and Lachie Weller among those joining King, Lukoisius and Rankine in being unsigned for next year.