SUNS skipper Tom Lynch has one foot out the door and only a major turnaround would convince him to stay on the Gold Coast beyond his current deal.
Lynch has told confidantes he will return to Victoria and a club that has a chance of success at the end of next year if the Suns don’t get their coaching appointment right and begin to show immediate improvement.
Gold Coast CEO Mark Evans admits the club has a fight on its hands to convince Lynch the future is bright.
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However, he said he would be more worried if the co-captain wasn’t a restricted free-agent only next year which ensures the Suns have the right to match any offer from rival clubs.
Lynch is likely to be offered the richest deal in the history of the game when he comes out of contract at the end of next season.
There had been speculation he would attempt to break his contract this off-season but that has been refuted by his manager Robbie D’Orazio who guaranteed he would be there in 2018.
Although D’Orazio delivered a softer ultimatum to what the Suns are hearing in private, he made no secret of the fact Lynch will consider his future when speaking on AFL Trade Radio.
“Tom is a competitive beast and wants to win games of football, and obviously win premierships,” he said.
“He’ll step back and take a look at the new coach, the assistants, and also look at what sort of player they go for in the draft, and they have pick two this year.
“Without putting a time frame on it, I’m sure by midway through next year, if they’re 0-11 but they’re competing, that might be OK.
“But if they’re 0-11 and getting smashed then we’ll wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Brisbane has decided against fighting to keep former skipper Tom Rockliff.
Power football boss Chris Davies confirmed the former All-Australian’s decision.
“We’re pleased Tom has shown a willingness to come to Port Adelaide over the other clubs that he’s spoken to,” he said.
“It’s up to us now to work with his management to finalise what a potential deal could look like.”
Given Rockliff is a restricted free agent, the Lions had the opportunity to match any offer tabled to Rockliff but are content to accept a compensation draft pick for him – expected to be at the end of the first round.
The Lions currently hold pick one, Port Adelaide’s first pick which is 12 and the first pick in the second round.