GOLD Coast coach Stuart Dew will lose his highly-rated lieutenant, Josh Francou, at the end of this AFL season.
The Suns' senior assistant will move with his family back to Adelaide after three seasons at the Queensland club.
Francou's looming departure comes after three assistant coaches - Dean Solomon, Nick Malceski and Ashley Prescott - all left at the end of last year.
Suns football manager Jon Haines said he understood the reasons behind Francou's move back to his home state.
Gold Coast are confident Francou will see out the year, despite reports the former Port Adelaide champion is angling for an early release.
"While we're disappointed to be losing someone of Josh's experience, the club respects the decision and welcomes his openness in advising us early and allowing us to undertake a well-considered plan to find a suitable replacement for 2022," Haines said.
Dew is in his fourth season as Gold Coast coach, with the Suns sitting 14th at 4-7 as they aim to make a late charge at a first finals appearance in the club's history.