Damien Hardwick during Gold Coast's training session at Heritage Bank Stadium on November 27, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

LIKE his chairman Bob East, Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick is not shy when it comes to setting public goals for his new club.

Recently, East proclaimed the Suns' "unequivocal goal" is to win premierships and speaking to AFL.com.au prior to his first season in charge, Hardwick is right on the same page.

After winning three flags with Richmond in 2017, 2019 and 2020, Hardwick has moved north to a club that is yet to play finals in its 13-season existence.

However, following almost three months of pre-season training, he's convinced that will change.

"My philosophy is you want to challenge for finals and premierships every year," Hardwick said.

"We're not developing any more. We've got a group that is capable of doing great things.


"I'm not going to put a ceiling on it, but I'm certainly going to put a floor - for us, it's finals.

"We're destined to take that next step, but we've got to understand the work involved in that."

Gold Coast has never finished higher than 12th on the ladder and is coming off a nine-win, 14-loss season in 2023.

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

Hardwick said he loved the "aspirational leadership" of East and Gold Coast's board, likening it to the Tigers' model he came from.

"That's what good clubs do, they sit there and aspire to be great," he said.

"We're not here to make up the numbers. We're not here to develop talent for other clubs.

"We want to be THE club.

"We want to be part of Gold Coast's first premiership and that's our aim. No question.

"That should be our aim and it is our aim and we've got to make sure we deliver on that promise."

Gold Coast has its first pre-season hitout against Brisbane at Brighton Homes Arena on Thursday and will be without defender Wil Powell, whose partner is expecting to give birth to their first child.