AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has reiterated the League will not offer Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch a paid ambassadorial role while he weighs up his future ahead of his impending free agency.
Lynch is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of this season, but is unlikely to open talks with the Suns before the second half of the year as he assesses how the club's list is placed under new coach Stuart Dew.
McLachlan told reporters on Wednesday he would be happy to talk to Lynch about his future if the spearhead contacted him, saying he was confident the Suns, under new CEO Mark Evans, now had the off-field set-up to offer Dew and his team the support they needed.
However, McLachlan stressed the AFL would not discuss an ambassadorial role in Queensland with Lynch before he had made a decision on his future.
"Let's be really clear on that. He has to make a decision based on the merits of staying at the Gold Coast Football Club," McLachlan said.
"The highest-paid ambassadors – three of the top four, I think – are with Melbourne clubs.
"That will have no bearing on whether Tom Lynch re-signs or not."
As one of the best key forwards in the competition, Lynch is attracting feverish interest from clubs in his home state, Victoria, with Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn reportedly leading the charge.
The 25-year-old will attract long-term offers of up to $1.5 million a season to move home, but it's understood Gold Coast remains well positioned to retain its best player.
Even if Lynch decides to leave, McLachlan believes it won't be the end of the world for the Suns.
"I just think every time people say, 'This guy is the most important player for our footy club' it undermines all the rest of the playing group and (the club's) culture," McLachlan said.
"I think about three of the best five players of the last five years: (Gary) Ablett left Geelong and they won the flag the next year, (Lance) Franklin left Hawthorn and they won the flag the next year, and (Patrick) Dangerfield left Adelaide and they played in a Grand Final two years after that.
"Clearly clubs want to keep big-name players but if a guy decides to go they do their best for a trade and at the draft, and things seem to work out.
"I think once you start thinking the future of clubs will be decided by one player you don't understand how our system works."
Nonetheless, McLachlan hoped Lynch would re-sign with the Suns.
"I'm old school in the sense that I love one-club players, but it's his decision," he said.