AFL great hits out over 'disrespectful' trade talks

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Gold Coast's Ben King has been heavily linked to trades to St Kilda or Essendon, despite still being contracted to the Suns. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Gold Coast's Ben King has been heavily linked to trades to St Kilda or Essendon, despite still being contracted to the Suns. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Though the dust is still settling on Melbourne's premiership victory last weekend, the AFL world is already beginning to turn its attention to the upcoming trade period.

Some of the speculation has proven to be a little too enthusiastic for AFL great Gerard Healy, who has defended the Gold Coast Suns what looms as a hectic off season for the Queensland side.

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The three players the Suns selected in the top six of the 2018 draft - Ben King, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine - are all out of contract at the end of the next season.

This has made the highly skilled trio attractive trade targets - but Healy said it was 'borderline embarrassing' that the Suns were the only club being discussed in this manner.

Earlier in the year, St Kilda boss Matt Finnis was criticised for discussing the prospect of reuniting King with his brother Max at the Saints.

The Adelaide Crows have serious interest in Lukosius and Rankine with the pair hailing from South Australia, with list manager Justin Reid confirming as much in an appearance on AFL Trade Radio earlier this week.

“We always keep an eye on all South Australian talent. They’re contracted, so they’ll see out that contract and how things play out over the next 12 to 18 months, time will tell," he said.

“But we’re certainly always having conversations with various managers about players and how we can try and make our list stronger.”

Healy was having none of it.

The former Demons and Swans star said it was remarkably unfair on clubs for talks of trades to be ramping up at that point in a player's deal.

“I don’t hear anybody from another club talking about players from anywhere else other than Gold Coast about who’s on their radar,” Healy said.

“Nobody is talking about a player at Collingwood who’s on their radar.

“It’s borderline embarrassing and disrespectful.

“A club 12 months out is saying that they’re on their radar.”

Suns name King senior assistant AFL coach

Meanwhile, the Suns have moved quickly to build support around AFL coach Stuart Dew, appointing Steven King as their senior assistant.

King joins from the Western Bulldogs, where his decade of service with this year's grand finalists included winning the 2016 premiership.

He was most recently senior assistant to Luke Beveridge.

King will head north ahead of the pre-season, due to start in November.

"We've said publicly that we want to continue to add to our football department to ensure we can provide our players and staff with the best possible chance for success and Steven definitely does that," general manager of football performance Wayne Campbell said.

"He has an extensive coaching background and we believe he can bring new elements to our young and exciting midfield group to help them reach new heights in 2022 and beyond."

Highly rated assistant coach Steven King has been hired by the Gold Coast Suns, after an impressive tenure with the Western Bulldogs. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Highly rated assistant coach Steven King has been hired by the Gold Coast Suns, after an impressive tenure with the Western Bulldogs. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

King also had a prolific playing career, making 193 AFL appearances at Geelong, who he captained from 2003-2006, including playing in the 2007 premiership.

He also made 47 appearances for St Kilda.

King's departure has seen the Bulldogs promote Ash Hansen to senior assistant, while they will now be on the hunt for a midfield coach, with Beveridge hailing King's influence.

"His versatility as a coach, his demeanour and rapport with the players and staff, and his tactical nous, have helped us achieve the success we've had over the last six years," he said.

"We are disappointed to lose 'Kingy', as he explores this next exciting step on his coaching journey.

"We are fully supportive of the lifestyle choice he and his family has made and will always be here for him."

With AAP

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