GOLD Coast will retain inaugural Sun Sam Day for a 14th season in 2024 following the departure of three other key forwards in the past month.
The injury-plagued spearhead has endured a nightmare injury run across his time in Queensland, but remained on the park in 2023, managing 17 VFL appearances in 2023, including the Grand Final win over Werribee, around three senior games.
Despite struggling for AFL opportunities behind Ben King, Jack Lukosius and Levi Casboult this year, Day has been determined to play on next year and experience the start of a new era under Damien Hardwick.
AFL.com.au understands Gold Coast will be delist the South Australian next month but have committed to selecting Day in the Pre-Season Draft on November 22.
This list manoeuvre will allow the Suns to have enough list spots to use the picks required to match bids on the four Academy players – Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers and Will Graham – they are set to select at the AFL Draft.
Gold Coast currently holds 10 picks in November's AFL Draft – No.24, 26, 27, 32, 36, 38, 66, 71, 74, 84 – but clubs can only use the amount of picks they have available list spots for.
The Suns have re-signed Casboult for a third season after Chris Burgess moved to Adelaide and Mabior Chol was traded to Hawthorn during the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period. Brodie McLaughlin wasn't offered another contract after one season on the rookie list.
Day was selected at pick No.3 in the 2010 AFL Draft behind David Swallow and Harley Bennell and played his 150th game in his most recent AFL appearance against Sydney in round 22. Swallow and Day are the only two inaugural players to still be at Carrara.
The Sturt product missed all of 2017 due to a horrific dislocated hip that was likened to a car accident injury and has also been sidelined for large chunks due to a shoulder reconstruction and a serious elbow injury, around hamstring and other soft tissue challenges.
West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff was selected the pick after Day 13 years ago and has played 275 games for the Eagles, four-time premiership player Isaac Smith retired at the end of the season after playing 280 games for Hawthorn and Geelong, while Sydney co-captain Luke Parker has 283 games on the board, highlighting just how much football the veteran has missed across the journey.
Gold Coast announced five other extensions on Monday, retaining James Tsitas and Oskar Faulkhead plus three Academy products in Bodhi Uwland, Lloyd Johnston and Sandy Brock for 2024.
Hewago Oea will also remain at the Suns next season with the club committed to keeping the Papua New Guinea product, who arrived at Heritage Bank Stadium as a Category B rookie.