Stuart Dew during Gold Coast's match against Collingwood in R16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

GOLD Coast will start its search for a new coach immediately after parting ways with Stuart Dew.

Dew, in his sixth season at the helm, was contracted until the end of 2024, but after chairman Bob East returned from overseas on Monday, his fate was sealed.

"I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that we are unashamedly holding this club to account at a very high level... it was crystal clear to us that this was a necessary decision,"" East told reporters at a media conference on Tuesday morning. 

"There is a clear gap between where we currently sit and where our expectations lie, and the senior coach selection process will be solely designed to close that gap."

East said he has instructed CEO Mark Evans to "come back with the next steps" to identify a new coach.

While senior assistant Steven King will fill the interim role until season's end, former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who walked away from the Tigers in May, is a clear frontrunner for the role. 

Evans re-iterated his comment from last week that he had not spoken to Hardwick and the process would start in "due time".


Once the board had decided that Dew would not be the senior coach beyond 2023, East said it was best for all parties that they part immediately. 

"Once you make a decision, I do believe it cuts to the culture of the business, you cannot be disingenuous in any organisation, let alone a high-performance organisation," he said.

"Once that decision is made, it is incumbent on the leaders of the club to act on those decisions."

Gold Coast had a 7-7 record a fortnight ago but after being belted by Collingwood and conceding nine goals in the third quarter of Saturday's loss against Port Adelaide, the club is barely clinging to its finals hopes this season.

Evans made it clear he thought the Suns had regressed from their 10 wins of 2022.

"This time last year we were better placed in wins and particularly in percentage, so it feels like there's a gap between us and the best in the competition," he said.

"I'll make it clear. We think we've got a great playing list. We think we've got some experts in our football department, and we think we need a new senior coach to actually go to the level we need to get to."

Gold Coast chairman Bob East and CEO Mark Evans at a media conference announcing Stuart Dew's sacking on July 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Dew has won no more than 10 games in a season during his five completed years at the club, and has lost three of his past four matches, just as the Suns looked set to mount a charge for the finals.

The 43-year-old finishes with a winning percentage of just 30.2 from 121 games in charge (36 wins, one draw, 84 losses).

After the dismal loss to the Magpies in front of a sold-out Heritage Bank Stadium in round 16, CEO Evans last week stood by Dew as the club's senior coach and backed him to deliver the required results before the end of the season.

But another loss on Saturday, this time to Port Adelaide, and the availability of three-time premiership coach Hardwick, prompted the Suns board to act and dismiss Dew with almost a season and a half remaining on his contract. 

Stuart Dew and his players leave the field after Gold Coast's loss to Port Adelaide in round 17, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Former Richmond coach Hardwick, who stepped away from the Tigers in May, said last month that he still had the desire to coach.

"I'd be lying if I said I couldn't see myself doing it. I love it, I miss it. I've been out for two weeks and I wanted to miss it, if that makes sense..." he told the Dyl and Friends podcast with Dylan Buckley.

"At some stage I will probably step back in, when that is, I'm not too sure."

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, who remains unsigned after the end of this season, also has links to the Gold Coast, having served as a senior assistant coach in 2011, but he is expected to ink a new deal at the Power.

Dew will leave Gold Coast as the club's longest-serving coach but his failure to guide the Suns to the finals in any of his five completed seasons - and the increasing unlikelihood of it happening this year - ultimately sealed his fate.

His win-loss record was superior to that of previous coaches Guy McKenna (27.27 per cent from 2011-14) and Rodney Eade (26.19 per cent from 2015-17). 

Stuart Dew's coaching record at Gold Coast

2018 4 0 18 18.18
2019 3 0 19 13.64
2020 5 1 11 32.35
2021 7 0 15 31.82
2022 10 0 12 45.45
2023 7 0 9 43.75
TOTAL 36 1 84 30.17