Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade concedes Dion Prestia is likely to leave the AFL club at the end of the season and that fellow off-contract midfielder Jaeger O’Meara is “torn” over his future.
The Suns are yet to receive definitive word of either player’s intentions but Eade said Prestia had indicated a desire to return to Victoria, where his family is based.
Prestia has been restricted to just 14 games this year due to injury and has been strongly linked to Richmond, which is reportedly his preferred destination.
“All the noise is that looks like it’s going to happen,” Eade told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
“But if that happens, that’s fine, we’ll just drive a hard bargain to be able to get compensation for him.
“We’ve spoken to him, he’s sort of indicated family’s a strong point – I suppose like (Patrick) Dangerfield when he went back to Geelong, that’s a strong driver for him.”
Eade said the Suns were “reasonably confident” of retaining O’Meara, but said: “I think he’s torn a little bit himself.”
O’Meara, 22, hasn’t played an AFL game since late 2014 because of a string of serious knee injuries.
If he does choose to leave, Eade reckons the Suns would demand two top-10 draft picks in exchange.
“I think our offer will reflect that we think we need to be compensated for him,” he said.
“He’s a year younger than (Adam) Treloar, he’s as good a player, his leadership… we think he would be worth two first-round picks in the top 10.”
Gold Coast’s other long-term injured midfield star, David Swallow, could make his AFL return in next week’s final round.
Swallow, who is also battling knee issues, played just over half a game for the Suns’ team in the NEAFL last weekend – his first run since the middle of the year.
Swallow will play reserves football again this week but could feature in Gold Coast’s season closer against Port Adelaide if he pulls up well enough.