PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Stephen Hill of the Dockers looks to pass the ball during the round three AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Gold Coast has identified forgotten Fremantle midfielder Stephen Hill as a target in 2019’s free agency period, reports The Age’s Peter Ryan.

The interest comes as Hill prepares for a return to the Dockers’ senior team against Port Adelaide in Round 13.

Out of contract at the end of 2019, the 28-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season.

Stephen, older brother to in-form star Brad, hasn’t been sighted at AFL level since Round 20 last season after injuring his quad.

2018 marked a career-low in goals and games played for Hill, managing just three majors from 13 games.

Meanwhile, 18.4 disposals per game were the 28-year-old’s fewest since 2012.

The Suns have signalled their intent to add mature-age quality as the club currently sits at 17th on the AFL ladder, in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

However, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has no plans of parting with the Ross Glendinning Medallist, labelling Hill as one of his favourite players.

“We all have our favourites as a coach,” Lyon said when discussing Hill’s return on Thursday.

“I said to Brad Hill and ‘Sonny’ (Michael Walters) he is my third favourite behind those two.”

Fremantle find themselves in ninth on the ladder, with the potential for return to the top eight with a win over the Power in Hill’s return game.