GOLD Coast list manager Craig Cameron says the Suns would have had to change their recruiting strategy to land Adelaide star Brad Crouch last season, after the midfielder's "unexpected" approach about a possible move.
But the Suns' list boss says the club will continue to monitor the 26-year-old's form when 2020 season resumes after his interest in joining the club last year.
Crouch toyed with a switch to the Suns during last year's trade period, which was a year before he fell out of contract. He is one of seven restricted free agents this season around the competition.
The Suns would have had to negotiate a trade with the Crows, but Cameron said the club had committed to focusing on the draft.
"The Brad one was an interesting one last year, it was unexpected from our perspective," Cameron told the Road to the Draft podcast.
"But I think what we're finding more and more is players and their managers are exploring their options a year before free agency to see if they can put pressure on their existing club either to get a new contract or to get moved.
"In the end, while we had conversations, Adelaide was not in a position where they were ever going to let Brad go and if I was in their position I wouldn't either.
"To try and even get close to them sitting down at the table would've cost us a lot of our early picks and we had taken a strategy to the board that we wanted to invest heavily in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, so we weren't going to change our whole strategic thought process on something that would have almost been too difficult to pull off."
The Suns landed Richmond premiership wingman Brandon Ellis and Adelaide midfielder Hugh Greenwood in last year's exchange period, and used early selections to draft midfield quartet Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Sam Flanders and Jeremy Sharp.
The club had identified 2020 as when it had hoped to enter the free agency market place more often to lure players, however with uncertainty over list numbers beyond this season that could impact their plans.
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Cameron said that the Suns will be watching Crouch closely this year but that their midfield had since been boosted.
"We went to that draft and drafted at the top end four talented midfielders, so how that impacts our decision at the end of the year, we need to wait and see how that all develops through the year," he said.
"Absolutely, anyone that's got an interest in coming to our footy club we'll keep an extra eye on, no doubt."