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Captain Miller? Suns coach backs youngster for top role

'Alarm bells ringing' for big Sun Mitch Cleary and Riley Beveridge bring you an update on the Suns' pre-season

GOLD Coast has emphatically endorsed Touk Miller's candidacy to become the club's next captain, with coach Stuart Dew saying the club holds no concerns over the midfielder's age or contract status.

Miller, 22, is one of the leading contenders to fill the vacant Suns skipper position, having lost both co-captains in Tom Lynch and Steven May during last year's NAB AFL Trade Period.

Gold Coast is one of three clubs yet to confirm its next captain, along with Hawthorn and Port Adelaide, but has a firm idea of when the decision will be made.

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The Suns are expected to unveil their leadership group within the next week, before confirming their skipper prior to their first JLT Community Series clash on March 3.

Experienced trio Pearce Hanley, 30, as well as David Swallow and Jarrod Witts, both 26, join the youthful Miller as the frontrunners for the position at Metricon Stadium.

However, in an exclusive interview with AFL.com.au, Dew expressed his confidence in Miller's ability to step into a more prominent leadership role this year.

"If they're ready, they're ready," Dew said.

"Whoever it is, they're going to need some support from the playing group and the rest of the leaders. But you look at guys like Trent Cotchin. He was a young captain and now he's grown into arguably one of the best captains in the League.

"Whoever it is, they will get their first crack at it and I think it's going to be important that we support them."

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Another concern surrounding Miller is the fact he remains out of contract going into 2019.

Gold Coast has lost its past three skippers – Lynch, May and Gary Ablett – to premature departures, but is not worried about a similar situation unfolding with Miller.

 

Conversely, Swallow and Witts have both recently penned long-term contract extensions, with the pair securing their futures at Metricon Stadium until the end of 2024.

Responding to whether he would have any apprehension in naming a captain who is currently out-of-contract, Dew said: "Not at all, there would be no hesitation with Touk."

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Dew arrived with Lynch and May already co-captains at Gold Coast, but was part of a Sydney setup under John Longmire that also installed a series of dual captains.

He said he would have no issue employing a similar tactic with the Suns in 2019.

The second-year coach also said he wouldn't be surprised if a new arrival – such as former Richmond midfielder Anthony Miles or ex-Geelong utility George Horlin-Smith – is voted into a leadership position by the playing group, despite only recently arriving at the club.

"The fact that the players pick that, with how they've gone about it, it will be interesting to see if they get acknowledged in some way," Dew said.

"It's certainly not out of the question, because they've come from respectable organisations."