Gold Coast's new AFL team gets serious - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gold Coast's new AFL team gets serious

By Crystal Ja 22/04/2009 05:05:53 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast chairman John Witheriff believes the race is already on to stop the AFL newcomers signing up a swag of the competition's established stars ahead of their 2011 debut.

With its provisional licence to join the competition and funding concerns over the $120 million stadium out of the way, the new club has been given the all-clear to start filling out its senior playing list.

Witheriff predicts all 16 rival clubs will be pushing extra hard to sign big-name players sooner rather than later to head off the prospect of losing them to the Gold Coast.

Under a host of draft and salary cap concessions granted to the new club ahead of their entry, Gold Coast will have the right to sign one uncontracted player from each existing club at the end of 2010.

Geelong's Gary Ablett, St Kilda's Nick Riewoldt and Lance Franklin from Hawthorn - currently all uncontracted after 2010 - have been floated as potential targets.

Witheriff refused to comment on names, but predicted rival clubs would pull out all stops to ensure their star players were off the table.

"(The clubs) recognise that we're in the market looking for players and I think it's a certainty that they'll be doing whatever they can to support their own football list," he told AAP.

"But we're in a very competitive industry, so that's good, that's important.

"We respect that and equally they respect that we're out there trying to build the most competitive football club that we can."

A month after being granted a provisional licence to join the league, Witheriff said the current focus was on building the club itself, rather than the on-field team.

Gold Coast has signed Telstra as a foundation sponsor in a two-year deal, while also beginning a major membership drive on the Coast.

The club has already signed about 1,000 members.

But Witheriff confirmed the search for a captain or marquee player was on.

"Scott (Clayton, recruiting manager) and his team are working flat out and it is true, we've developed a list-build strategy and it is true that the list-build is going on right now," he said.

"We haven't settled on the team look, but it's not age-based, it's player quality-based and it's about finding the best quality player for each position.

"And finally it's about ensuring the longevity of performance. We're not interested in a club that only does well in year one."

The Gold Coast's under-18 squad, coached by former Eagle Guy McKenna, plays its third TAC Cup game against Tasmania on Saturday.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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