YOUNG star Ben King admits rampant speculation over his playing future had started to weigh on him before he signed a contract extension with Gold Coast late last year.
The Victorian teenager, taken at pick six in the 2018 national draft, had been widely tipped to return to Melbourne, possibly to join twin brother Max at St Kilda.
But after 14 games in his debut season with the Suns, the promising key forward inked a lucrative two-year extension that ties him to the Queensland club until the end of 2022.
It was a relief (because) it was weighing on me a bit during that period," King told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.
"But I couldn't be happier to have two more years at the Suns and at least not think about it. I can just worry about footy."
King was one of a handful of high-end draft selections Gold Coast were desperate to lock into new deals after losing a string of big names to rival clubs in recent years.
Young guns Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes all signed contract extensions, and senior players David Swallow, Touk Miller and Jarrod Witts are committed long-term.
Coach Stuart Dew is also likely to ink a new deal, although the agreement that was imminent at the start of the 2020 season has been put on hold because of more pressing matters during the AFL's coronavirus shutdown.
Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson - last year's top two draft picks - both made their AFL debuts in round one and will be the Suns' next priority signings.
"We've got a great young core of players that are all committed to the club and are really confident in the direction that the club's going," King said.
"It makes for a really good atmosphere around the club."
King is one of many Gold Coast players who have returned to their home states to ride out the coronavirus shutdown period.
He said he has enjoyed being under his parents' roof again and rekindling the sibling rivalry with Max as both attempt to build their bodies for football's return - whenever that may be.