Gold Coast will “make a stance” in their pursuit of compensation from rival AFL clubs for the signature of midfielder Jaeger O’Meara.
The Suns announced on Thursday the 22-year-old West Australian product had notified the club of his intention to find a new home for the 2017 season.
O’Meara has been linked with a move to a Melbourne-based club for several months but throughout, the Suns have been desperate to retain the 2013 Rising Star.
With O’Meara not qualifying as a free agent, the Suns say they won’t be giving the highly-rated midfielder away cheaply.
If an appropriate compensation package cannot be reached, then O’Meara’s only other option is to enter this year’s draft in the search for a new club.
“It’s the right time for the club to make a stance,” Suns chairman Tony Cochrane said.
“We do so for the sake of our current players, supporters, partners and the thousands of junior AFL participants who are building the foundation of this club.”
O’Meara played 44 games in his first two seasons of senior football but hasn’t played since the final round of the 2014 campaign.
Cochrane said O’Meara’s decision to leave the Suns was disappointing after the amount of patience and time the club had invested in the star.
“The club traded two first round selections to the GWS Giants to secure Jaeger as a 17-year-old, spent 12 months developing him prior to him being eligible to make his AFL debut, saw him impress on-the field in his first two seasons and have then spent the last two seasons investing time and resources into rehabilitating his knee following multiple surgeries with the club’s utmost support,” he said.
“With that being the case, Jaeger is on the market to a club that can provide us compensation we are prepared to accept.”
O’Meara’s decision comes a week after it was reported Dion Prestia had also told the Suns he was leaving with Richmond his preferred destination.
The 23-year-old Melbourne product is yet to have his future confirmed but looks almost certain to join O’Meara in exiting the Suns after the 2016 season.