GOLD Coast chief Mark Evans has begun to meet with potential candidates for the senior coaching position but the official interview process will not begin until next week at the earliest.
Evans’ preference is to meet informally with any interested parties himself before narrowing the field of applicants to about six who will front the interview panel.
He expects to announce the panel later this week.
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He confirmed on Monday he had already “had coffee” with some potential applicants but said it was up to the candidates if they wanted to be publicly linked to the job.
“I’ve started having a few of those preliminary discussions,’’ he said.
If there wasn’t a standout presentation from the first round of interviews or if the interview panel wanted further information, he envisaged capping a second round of interviews to two or three applicants.
Evans is set to talk to untried assistant coaches including John Barker (Carlton) and Stewart Dew (Sydney) but will also sound out contracted coaches Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn) and Brad Scott (Kangaroos).
Evans said it was likely there would be no final decision until after the Grand Final.
He also declared the club had not received any advice from Gary Ablett about his intentions for next year.
While it is now considered a fait accompli that Ablett will again request a trade to Geelong, the three-time Suns club champion has yet to confirm this with the Suns.
Evans said until Ablett asked the question all the club could do was treat him like any other contracted player.
However the dialogue around Ablett has changed.
Where throughout the year the line from the club was that Ablett was contracted and his only options were to play on with the Suns or retire, it is now around what another club would have to do for Gold Coast to entertain a trade.
Gold Coast say the heavily front-ended nature of Ablett’s deal means they have effectively paid him about $500,000 in advance for next season.
Geelong, or any other club wishing to lure him out of Metricon Stadium would have to trade for an established player and pay their wage to satisfy the Suns.
Gold Coast’s end-of-season awards night is on Saturday where Ablett is a chance to claim his fourth club championship.
The expectation is there will be no discussions between player and club before then.
The Suns are expected to be unsuccessful when the AFL on Tuesday reveals which clubs will be granted a licence for the expanded AFLW competition in 2019.
Meanwhile, Lion Dayne Zorko has been selected in the 40-man All Australian squad which will be trimmed to 22 on Wednesday.
The goal kicking midfielder-forward is the only representative from the two Queensland clubs.
And Brisbane has confirmed skipper Dayne Beams will undergo surgery on his injured shoulder on Wednesday but Tom Rockliff’s shoulder operation has been pushed back until late September after the impending birth of his first child.
Originally published as Suns begin search for new coach
Source: sports dailytelegraph