The Gold Coast Suns will have an almost unrecognisable list in 2019 after losing their third captain in 12 months, with Steven May officially traded to Melbourne.
It was a dramatic final day of the AFL Trade Period for the Gold Coast Suns, culminating in the huge deal with the Demons.
The Suns offloaded captain Steven May as well as star Kade Kolodjashnij in return for pick No.6 in the 2018 Draft.
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May had made no secret of his desire to move to a Melbourne-based club despite having a year left on his contract.
The Gold Coast’s List Manager Craig Cameron appeared on NAB AFL Trade Radio on Wednesday to give insight into why the club made the call to get rid of their most senior player.
“It’s fair to say internally there was a big debate, at board level, footy sub-committee, within the football department,” Cameron said.
“Steven, at his best he’s one of the premier power defenders in the competition so the thought of letting someone of that calibre go, it’s a pretty tough call.”
Cameron said the club took a long-term view when weighing up whether to hold May to his contract for another season or entertain a trade in this trade period.
“Once we got in a position where both captains were not ready to commit to us long term, we had to change the strategy of the football club, we needed to break the cycle,” Cameron said.
“When we could find no way that there was going to be a long-term commitment (from May), it was a strategy we took.
“Clear the decks is the wrong term but to actually get some clear air, build a club from a base of bringing in some really good character people to the organisation.”
While Cameron said he was willing to let May go, it still needed to be for the right price.
“Given next year Steven would be a free agent, it was important that we received the right recompense this year for him,” Cameron said.
“There was a fair few things that had to unfold and really all of that didn’t come to fruition until the last week.
The agreement with Melbourne was also part of a wider deal that also saw the Suns secure Jack Hombsch from Port Adelaide.
The mature age defender has played a total of 98 games since making his debut for the GWS Giants in Round 1 of the 2012 premiership season.
“The way we look at it is part of that whole deal (with Melbourne) included Jack Hombsch coming to us for very little.
“They get written up a certain way but it’s not the way we actually have negotiated it.”
Cameron’s first year as Gold Coast’s list manager has been a busy one, but he believes with the right people in place behind the scenes the Suns can reverse their fortunes.
“There’s been retention issues in the past and we need to break that cycle,” he said.
“It’s disappointing, we’ve actually got to change our football club so that we don’t have guys coming towards their peak of their career that want to leave.
“Free agency can hurt clubs like ours, but not if we get our off-field right.
“If we start to get the off-field right and we start to drive the club in the right direction then we hope that those things will turn around.”
The Suns will now turn their sights to the upcoming draft after securing picks 2, 3, 6, 24, 29 and 80.