THERE'S no ifs, buts or maybes – Steven May will be playing for Gold Coast in 2019, says Suns coach Stuart Dew.
Since free agent Tom Lynch announced late in the season he wanted to return to Victoria, the focus has shifted to May, who still has a year to run on his deal.
But despite reported interest for the rugged full-back from Collingwood, Dew said there was no desire to move May on before he too became a free agent in 12 months.
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"As far as we're concerned, he's our player next year," Dew told AFL.com.au.
"He's our captain and very important and when he was injured we missed him."
Dew said Gold Coast was keen to know as soon as possible what May intended to do beyond 2019 but understood why the player would take his time on a decision.
"We've said 'we know you're out of contract at the end of next year, we'd just love to know as soon as possible where you see your career after that'," Dew said.
"We want to know 'are you here for the long haul? What's your view?'
"Not many players are thinking 12 months out about where they are in that time. We're just trying to get an idea of his thoughts for post-2019."
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One of the biggest hurdles could well be who captains the Suns next year.
Following Lynch announcing his intention to leave, CEO Mark Evans indicated the club could not enter another year with a cloud hanging over its captain's future.
Gary Ablett asked for a trade at the end of 2016 while he was still the skipper – and then stepped aside – while Lynch had the baggage following him around this year.
Dew was non-committal on whether May could lead if his future beyond next year was not resolved prior to the season.
"It'll be something we weigh up," he said.
"Captaincy is normally announced around February, going into JLT (Community Series).
"We'll go through the normal process and throw all the eggs in the basket at that point and make that call."