LIVEWIRE forward Malcolm Rosas looks set to be the first player to benefit from Gold Coast's new access to Darwin as an Academy zone.
The Suns have been granted the Darwin zone as part of a raft of measures given to the club in the AFL's assistance package.
It includes the ability to sign players from the Darwin region in the Northern Territory – and Gold Coast's own Queensland zone – without having to match bids for the prospects.
Rosas shapes as the inaugural player to be selected for the Suns from their Darwin Academy, having shown flashes of his talent and skills throughout the season, and said he would be keen to join the club.
"It would be good to go up there. I was pretty surprised when [the concessions] came through from the AFL," Rosas told AFL.com.au this month.
"It's a good thing for Darwin, because the NT hasn't been a big footy state for a while so it's good news."
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The 18-year-old excited at stages for the Allies during the mid-season carnival, before featuring in the NEAFL late in the season.
A small and quick forward, Rosas also impressed at the NAB AFL Draft Combine earlier this month, when he finished third overall in the 20m sprint (running 2.92 seconds) and ran a solid time of 6:33 minutes in the 2km time trial.
"It's been a pretty big year, going through the Allies and the Northern Territory Academy programs," Rosas said.
"My main strengths would probably be my pace and my pressure and probably kicking a couple of goals."
The Suns had to formally register their interest in Darwin prospects with the AFL last week, and next week will need to do the same with their northern Academy players ahead of the ability to pre-list them before the national draft.
Gold Coast recruiting manager Kall Burns said the speedy left-footer had shown great upside throughout his under-18 campaign.
"Malcolm's had a fantastic year. I think his championships were really strong and I think his game for Australia on the MCG earlier this year was really strong also," Burns told the Road to the Draft podcast, brought to you by Hostplus.
"He really rounded out his season with a fantastic effort at the Combine."
Connor Budarick is also expected to join the Suns, with the northern Academy player enjoying a consistent season.
Some clubs viewed the quick rebounding defender and midfielder as a possible top-30 pick at the draft before the rules were introduced that allow the Suns to automatically select him outside of normal draft process.
Budarick won the Harrison Medal as the best player in the Academy series earlier this year for his form for the Suns.