Sam Flanders in action during round 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

YOUNG Gold Coast midfielder Sam Flanders has ignored opposition interest to sign a four-year contract extension that ties him to the Suns until at least the end of 2027.

And the 22-year-old says the acquisition of Damien Hardwick as the Suns' new coach played a "massive" part in his decision.

The extension was announced live on stage at Gold Coast's Club Champion awards on Sunday night where Flanders claimed the Best Emerging Player award.

Originally flagged in's Inside Trading, the deal will take the 22-year-old through to free agency.


Flanders has endured a tumultuous season that was halted by a knee injury early on and a resulting stint in the VFL.

He said his first chat with Hardwick – where the triple premiership mentor sipped back on a beer while he had a coffee - played a big part in solidifying his decision.

"It’s obviously a relief, a bit of weight off the shoulders," Flanders said.

"For me it’s the place I wanted to be. 

"The group is very talented, and I think adding 'Dimma' into the mix it’s a pretty good combination. 

"You’ve got someone with his resume coming. Obviously, I was waiting for him to get back from his Europe trip, but the first meeting with him was pretty good for me, just to hear how he sees me, how I’m going to fit in the mix in the team.

"A coach like that doesn’t really have to pitch much. 

"He just voiced his vision and that was enough for me to want to be a part of. 

"It was a massive part in the re-signing."

Sam Flanders celebrates a goal with Touk Miller during the R23 match between Gold Coast and Carlton at Heritage Bank Stadium on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

After his early season setbacks, Flanders was recalled to the senior team in round 15 and took off, averaging 29 disposals in the final 10 matches playing predominantly as a midfielder.

He conceded there was some indecision about where he'd re-sign as the season wore on.

"You don’t want to be in the VFL," he said.

"I was very fortunate in the back end of the year to get some opportunity and for me it was about proving I could actually play at the level."

Now it's all about the future though, a future that involves Hardwick.

"He could lead you anywhere and you’ll follow because his vision is so strong. I think that’s what we love about him the most. 

"As soon as he came in the room you could just tell he was a leader. 

"He just gave me the confidence that I’ve been looking for I think. 

"I think we’re going to have a lot of success in the next couple of years and that’s something I want to be a part of."