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Suns sign untried mature-age recruits to long-term deals

New Suns Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine - AFL,Gold Coast Suns,Josh Corbett,Chris Burgess,Contracts
New Suns Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine

GOLD Coast's intriguing period of player retention into its fresh reset has started, with the Suns locking away two mature-age recruits on four-year deals.

State league signings Josh Corbett (Werribee) and Chris Burgess (West Adelaide) have put pen to paper on contracts tying them to the club until the end of 2022.

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The pair of 22-year-olds extended beyond their initial two-year deals, with the Suns' next signature priorities to include recommitments from top-10 picks Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Ben King.  

Following the departure of co-captains Tom Lynch (Richmond) and Steven May (Melbourne), the Suns have been open in their need for a different approach into 2019.  

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Corbett and Burgess were lured north as part of the Suns' access to three mature-age players, joining former Fremantle defender Sam Collins at the club during the NAB AFL Trade Period.

While Collins signed a two-year deal, Corbett and Burgess' longer terms ensured the Suns held off significant interest from rival clubs in their services, given they were essentially free agents.

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Carlton, who was also granted access to two state league players, opted to on-trade rights to Nathan Kreuger (Geelong) and Shane McAdam (Adelaide).

Kreuger, a 19-year-old developing key forward, has signed a three-year deal with the Cats, while it is understood McAdam has added at least one year beyond his standard two years. 

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As the Suns prepare to beef up their player welfare department with seven staff members by January, the new appointments will be crucial in allowing the top-10 picks to settle in.

AFL.com.au understands the Suns are yet to begin formal negotiations with the top-10 picks beyond their 2020 contracts.

Rankine's friendship with Burgess, a West Adelaide teammate, will be important in his early time at the club, as well as the tutelage of indigenous leader and games record holder Jarrod Harbrow.

Lukosius, the club's first pick in this year's NAB AFL Draft, will be given ample time to adjust to life at the Suns, with the club hopeful he can form a close relationship with two state teammates.

Having been through the South Australian talent pathway with Rankine, Lukosius also shared the NAB AFL Under-18 Championship title with Jez McLennan, the club's next selection at pick 23.  

King's signature will also be hotly anticipated, given his public preference to stay in Victoria prior to the draft, where twin brother Max landed at St Kilda at pick No.4.  

McLennan's long-term commitment will be the least concern for the Suns, given his want to move to Queensland where parts of his extended family reside.

Such was their desire to secure the defender, the Suns traded up four places to 23 in the opening stages of the second day of this year's NAB AFL Draft.

The Suns face a different prospect in re-signing their top four draft picks this year, compared to their haul from 2016.

Unlike Ben Ainsworth, Jack Scrimshaw, Will Brodie and Jack Bowes who all shared the same management group (Connors Sports) and re-signed simultaneously before playing a match, this year's group are all managed by separate agents.  

While the Suns have two years to retain their recent draftees, key teammates set to fall out of contract at the end of 2019 include Jack Martin, Peter Wright and Touk Miller.  

Another need for the Suns lies in the ruck department, with one list spot available in the pre-season supplemental selection period up until March 15.