STUART Dew has been appointed as Gold Coast's third senior coach after a two-month search process concluded on Wednesday night.
AFL.com.au understands Dew has been rubberstamped by the Gold Coast board as the Suns' pick from a final shortlist of three.
The club is expected to confirm the 38-year-old as Rodney Eade's replacement at a media conference on Thursday morning at 11am AEST.
Dew won the position from highly rated pair John Barker and Scott Burns, who each made it to the final interview stage.
The Suns confirmed their choice at a 7pm AEST board meeting on Wednesday night, with Dew the pick of CEO Mark Evans, chairman Tony Cochrane and directors Paul Scurrah and Martin Rowlands.
References were gathered late to help separate the three contenders, with the unsuccessful applicants then informed of the decision immediately after the board meeting at the Suns' headquarters.
Dew earns his chance at senior coaching after a nine-year apprenticeship at the Sydney Swans, where he has been John Longmire's right-hand man and senior assistant.
Both Barker and Burns were said to have presented well in the final interview stage, which started late last week and finished on the Gold Coast on Wednesday morning.
Dew played 180 senior games for Port Adelaide and 26 for Hawthorn between 1997-2009, winning premierships at both clubs (2004, 2008).
He was an inaugural member of the AFL's Level Four course, earning strong reviews through the program, which prepares the game's best assistants for senior positions.
He has been patient in his search for the right senior job, choosing not to apply for the Brisbane Lions vacancy last year and turning down an opportunity to be Paul Roos' successor at Melbourne.
Eade was informed in early August he would not be offered a contract beyond 2017 and he stood down after round 20, with assistant Dean Solomon put in charge for the final three games.
The Suns started their search shortly after, holding informal chats with a pool of prospective candidates.
Dew was first interviewed formally by the Suns in mid-September, along with Adam Kingsley (St Kilda), Jade Rawlings (Melbourne) and former Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney.
He stepped out of the process briefly when Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley was linked with the position.
Dew will need to make a decision on his team of assistants, with the Suns yet to confirm the futures of Matthew Primus, Ashley Prescott and Andy Lovell.
Solomon is expected to remain with the club.
Sydney endorsed Dew as a senior candidate from the outset but will now be forced to re-shape its coaching team.
The Swans have already lost highly rated pair Josh Francou (Adelaide) and Henry Playfair (St Kilda), adding retired star Steve Johnson and NEAFL coach Rhyce Shaw to Longmire's panel.
Past players Jeremy Laidler and Tadgh Kennelly have been appointed as development coaches.