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Suns to approach Hinkley as interviews loom

Ken Hinkley remains of interest to Gold Coast - AFL,Gold Coast Suns,Ken Hinkley
Ken Hinkley remains of interest to Gold Coast

GOLD Coast will start interviewing candidates for its vacant senior coach position in Melbourne this week amid the growing likelihood Ken Hinkley will be approached by the Suns.  

The Suns have held preliminary discussions with a number of applicants, including leading assistants John Barker and Stuart Dew, and will move into a formal interview process as early as Wednesday.

The club had been waiting for panel member Neil Craig to finish in his role as Carlton coaching director before starting interviews, which will be conducted by a panel including CEO Mark Evans and football manager Marcus Ashcroft.

Fellow panel members Matti Clements, a sports psychologist, and former Western Bulldogs CEO Simon Garlick are based in Melbourne, making it easier for the club to hold interviews there.

Port Adelaide coach Hinkley is contracted for 2018 and Power CEO Keith Thomas has expressed confidence that the coach was committed to his role with the Power and would have his contract extended. 

However, it is believed Gold Coast will still contact the 50-year-old's management as part of its search.  

Hinkley spent three years at the Suns as an assistant coach from 2010-12, before taking the top job at Port Adelaide.

The Suns have also spoken with Sydney about the logistics of interviewing Dew, who is committed to the Swans' finals campaign.  

Gold Coast will need to work to the Swans' timeline when interviewing the highly regarded midfield and strategy coach but the Swans will not stand in Dew's way if their finals preparations aren't impacted. 

Sydney general manager of football Tom Harley on Tuesday underlined the club's endorsement of Dew as a senior candidate.  

Swans assistant Stuart Dew (left) is another likely candidate. Picture: AFL Photos 
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As well as Dew and Barker, it is understood the Suns sought out Melbourne assistant and Level Four coach Jade Rawlings for a preliminary discussion. It is not clear if the 39-year-old will be formally interviewed.

Rawlings has been the Demons' backline assistant since 2012 and has developed a strong resume through stints with the Brisbane Lions and Richmond, where he was caretaker coach for 11 rounds in 2009. 

Gold Coast's assistant coaches met with Evans early last week and are waiting on a senior appointment to be made before they know their standing with the club.

In-demand assistant Dean Solomon as well as Matthew Primus, Ashley Prescott and Andy Lovell are all out of contract on October 31.

The Suns' selection panel will conduct interviews before Evans makes a recommendation to the board.

The club is hoping to make an announcement in the week following the Grand Final.