RODNEY Eade is still in the dark on the intentions of out of contract stars Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia, saying the pair are "keeping their cards pretty close to their chest".
O'Meara is having minor arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome knee on Thursday, joining Prestia, who has also undergone knee surgery, on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
O'Meara, 22, and Prestia, 23, are hot midfield property, but have been keen to delay contract talks for much of the year, preferring to concentrate on playing footy.
Gold Coast coach Eade says he's unsure which way they're leaning, but believes the club has presented a good case for why they should stay.
"They're playing their cards pretty close to their chest at the moment," he said.
"Obviously those guys are going to make decisions on what they think is best for their future.
"From our point of view, we want them to stay and we've spoken to them about that.
"Hopefully they can see there is a very positive future.
"If we can have an even run at it with injuries, I think we can compete with the best sides in the competition."
O'Meara has had a wretched two years after rupturing his patella tendon in a practice match last April.
The former NAB AFL Rising Star winner played parts of three NEAFL games this season before his latest hiccup.
If the pair of midfield aces was unsure about the Suns' playing stocks earlier this season, their teammates have worked wonders in recent weeks to show the talent on the list.
Despite missing its six best midfielders on occasions, Gold Coast has won six games and has been unlucky to lose to Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney in the past fortnight.
Eade has warned his men to not drop their standards ahead of Sunday's match with last-placed Essendon at Etihad Stadium.
"Any relapse in our effort, we'll open ourselves up to get beaten," he said.
"At times, Essendon have played some very good footy and they've still got some talented players there, especially in their midfield, so that's the area we've got to work hard again to contain them.
"If we don't bring our work-rate and intensity, we're a real chance to get opened up."
David Swallow will play a half of football in the NEAFL on Sunday – his first action of 2016 after overcoming a knee injury.