GOLD Coast has kept Tom Nicholls off this year's free agency list, quietly re-signing the ruckman until the end of 2019.
Nicholls had been due to come out of contract at the end of this season, when he would have been among the Suns' inaugural free agency crop given he joined the expansion club ahead of its debut season, 2011.
AFL.com.au understands Gold Coast re-signed Nicholls earlier this year on a one-year extension, a move that underlined the club's faith in the 203m Victorian despite a difficult 2017 season when he failed to play a senior game.
Nicholls was plagued by shoulder, ankle and quad injuries last season, and when he got on the park he struggled for form in the NEAFL.
Meanwhile, ex-Magpie Jarrod Witts made the Suns' No.1 ruck spot his own in his first season at Metricon Stadium, averaging 13 possessions and 39 hit-outs a game.
Gold Coast remains bullish the high-leaping Nicholls can get back to his best over the next two seasons, having watched him complete a strong 2018 pre-season and perform well in the JLT Community Series.
The former Sandringham Dragon established himself as a key member of the Suns' team in 2015 and 2016, holding down the No.1 ruck position when fit.
Nicholls is the only remaining player from the 12 under-17 concession selections Gold Coast was granted ahead of its entry into the AFL, following the departures of Brandon Matera, Trent McKenzie and Matt Shaw at the end of last season.
Nicholls has played 45 games for the Suns.