THE RACE for the final spot on Gold Coast's list is down to two, after South Australian duo Lewis Rayson and Morgan Ferres finished up with the club and returned home over the weekend.
It leaves former top-10 pick Nathan Freeman and Magarey Medal winner James Tsitas vying for the last position on the Suns' rookie list, able to sign with the club under pre-season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) rules.
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Rebounding defender Rayson and athletic forward Ferres had been invited to train with Gold Coast in December, having been considered two of the best overlooked prospects from last year's NAB AFL Draft.
However, AFL.com.au understands the Suns are instead opting for experience and are now in the process of weighing up whether to take a punt on Freeman or Tsitas – both 26 years of age – over the coming weeks.
Freeman, a former top-10 draft pick who was limited to just two AFL games due to persistent hamstring injuries, emerged as one of the VFL's most prolific midfielders last year after averaging 37.7 disposals per game with Frankston.
Tsitas went at 28.6 disposals per game for Woodville-West Torrens, where he was named as the joint Magarey Medal winner as the SANFL's best player alongside former Carlton and Adelaide star Bryce Gibbs.
Gold Coast is currently one of nine teams with at least one vacant list spot, which it can fill under SSP rules until March 9. Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, St Kilda, Sydney and West Coast are among the sides to have rookie positions available.
Clubs are also able to leave the spot free for the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
The Suns face a crucial season ahead as they aim for their first finals campaign under coach Stuart Dew, having added experience in the form of Mabior Chol, Charlie Constable and Levi Casboult throughout the recent trade and draft period.