Bob East and Mark Evans speak after sacking Stuart Dew as Gold Coast coach in July 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

IT'S TIME for Gold Coast to put up, says chairman Bob East - and that means winning a premiership.

Although the Suns' leader hasn't gone as far as demanding or declaring a flag during Damien Hardwick's six-year contract as coach, East says it's an opportunity the club must seize for itself and the community.

Speaking to as he approaches one year in the role after succeeding Tony Cochrane, East realises Hardwick's appointment is not a silver bullet.

The facts are simple. In 13 seasons in the AFL, Gold Coast is yet to play finals. Its highest finish is just 12th.

But the triple premiership coach's arrival to replace Stuart Dew has Carrara buzzing.


For East, that means one thing.

"We need to be playing finals footy, we need to be competing for premierships," he said.

"If we don't seize the moment, seize this opportunity, it would be a real shame.

"Our unequivocal goal is to win premierships.

"I think there's a real understanding right throughout the organisation that it is going to be an uncompromising year and we are setting our sights (high)."

Damien Hardwick is seen at Gold Coast training on January 15, 2024. Picture: Gold Coast FC

Following almost 14 seasons in charge at Punt Rd, Hardwick arrived on the Gold Coast last August, declaring 80 per cent of the club's first premiership team was already in place.

A part of the missing 20 per cent was added during the AFL Draft in November, when Suns Academy graduates Jed Walter (No.3), Ethan Read (No.9), Jake Rogers (No.14) and Will Graham (No.26) were all added.

Will Graham, Ethan Read, Jed Walter and Jake Rogers after the 2023 AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

East said access to Academy players for the four northern clubs was crucial to the growth of the game.

"A couple of kids that have come through the Academy have been at the school where my kids go to school," he said.

"For the boys and girls in this community to be rubbing shoulders with kids that might be in the Academy, it's building enthusiasm, it's building a lot of interest at the school level, the junior level.

"Sixty per cent of the playing group is still coming out of Victoria. We are absolutely determined, as an industry I suppose, to make sure we get the best out of the local talent and there's a lot of talent out there, so it's a really important feature.

"I could go on with a whole bunch of hurdles and challenges we have being in an expansion territory, but that's not our focus."