PRESSURE is something Stuart Dew handled as a player and it's something he says he's ready to handle as a coach.

Entering the final year of his contract at Gold Coast, Dew is walking into a furnace of external scrutiny that is sure to fluctuate with every Suns win or loss.

He says he's excited.

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With co-captain Jarrod Witts back from a ruptured ACL, Matt Rowell fully fit after two horrible injuries to start his career and a young list that now has enough experience to compete on a weekly basis, Dew knows improvement is demanded to stay at Carrara beyond 2022.

Matt Rowell gets his handball away during the practice match between Gold Coast and Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on February 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Speaking to before his team's big win over Port Adelaide in Friday's practice match, Dew said he had never obsessed about contracts.

"I'm confident in what I can deliver," he said.

"No pressure, no diamonds type of thing.


"I feel like it's going to bring the best out in me, which will be good for the footy club.

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"I've been under pressure before both as a coach and player.

"When I went to Hawthorn, that was an interesting move obviously at the time for them, but I'll back myself to do the job I'm paid to do.

"It's a job that I love."

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Dew was famously recruited from retirement by Alastair Clarkson following the 2007 season, going on to play a starring role in the Hawks' 2008 Grand Final triumph over Geelong.

Stuart Dew and Alastair Clarkson celebrate Hawthorn's 2008 Grand Final win over Geelong. Picture: AFL Photos

He said he hasn't spoken to the club about his contract or what might need to be achieved.

"To be honest, I'm not interested in talking about myself at this stage," he said.

"What's going to dictate that is what happens out on the field, so 100 per cent of my energy is into that.

"I haven't been on the front foot talking about it either. The players need me to be at my best and that's what I can control.

I'll back myself to do the job I'm paid to do.

- Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew

"How am I getting the team going, how am I working with coaches and the footy department and that's what's going to show.

"I'll be a by-product of that. Same as players. We've got players out of contract. I can't give them the advice to control what you can control and turn around and do the opposite."

Dew said he couldn't dance around the fact Gold Coast had to make more gains – it won seven games and finished 16th last season.

Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew chats to his team during a clash with Fremantle in R13, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Some of the notable areas he thought that could happen were: 

- Matt Rowell. After missing most of 2020 with a shoulder reconstruction and half of 2021 with a knee injury, the former No.1 pick has had an exceptional summer. "He knows how to prepare. In a positive way he's learned more about the physical preparation, he's got the footy side sorted, we've all seen that. Our main goal was around Matt getting back and enjoying footy, it wasn't so much about performance. That's set him up for this off-season."


- Steven King. The new senior assistant and midfield coach has impressed all since coming directly to Gold Coast from his role at the Western Bulldogs following its Grand Final loss. "He's had an enormous impact," Dew said. "His knowledge, his experience … and for myself, having him around and having trust in someone in that position is great."

Assistant coach Steven King directs traffic at Gold Coast training on January 28, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

- Getting his midfield mix right. "They're starting to know where each other are. When there's a 50-50 ball, can they spread rather than get drawn into the contest? The want is there, but the method at different times can be not where it needs to be." Rowell, Touk Miller, Noah Anderson, David Swallow and Brayden Fiorini all provide an inside presence, while Brandon Ellis, Jeremy Sharp and Rory Atkins lead the outside options.

- Jarrod Witts. The co-captain is almost back from his ruptured ACL and a chance to play in the opening round. "The decision won't be around his knee, it'll just be whether he's ready for the rigours of the game. He'd want to play some minutes in those games before round one. I think anyone, if you're asking him to line up against Nic Naitanui in round one, you might want a few minutes beforehand to get going. He's on track."