May-day: Suns skipper set for Gold Coast exit
GOLD Coast captain Steven May is expected to tell the Suns he wishes to continue his career elsewhere as suitors explore loopholes in the AFL rules to prise him away from the Suns.
May has already met with two Melbourne clubs, believed to be premiership contenders Collingwood and Hawthorn.
Gold Coast are aware of the meetings but have told rivals he will not be traded unless a suitable deal can be struck.
It is understood a radical plan to exploit an AFL rule and deliver free agency compensation to the Suns has been shut down by the league.
The Suns are anticipating May will ask to be traded in the coming weeks and will not stay beyond next year if he cannot secure a release this off-season.
However, they are prepared to hold out given they expect to finish in the bottom four again next year and would receive a top-five draft pick as compensation.
A proposal to make May a free agent this year, following a precedent used by Brisbane and Gold Coast with Jared Brennan in 2010, has been ruled illegal by the AFL.
Under AFL rules, a contract can be torn up by mutual agreement.
Under the left field proposal, May and the Suns would mutually agree to part ways which would make him uncontracted and automatically a restricted free agent.
It was suggested that the Suns should then qualify for a compensation pick directly tied to their existing first-round selection.
Given they already hold pick two and will receive pick three for Tom Lynch, May should in theory secure the next selection.
The Suns had not heard of the proposal when contacted by The Courier-Mail.
They checked the legality of the plan with the AFL and were told the free agency list that was distributed at the beginning of each season could not be added to.
Former Suns list manager Scott Clayton orchestrated a similar deal with Brisbane to recruit Brennan to the club in 2010.
Brennan was contracted to Brisbane but instead of trading, the Lions agreed to terminate his contract, which cleared the path for his move down the highway.
Brisbane received a compensation pick in return.
Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew said publicly this week that May was a contracted player and he expected him to play out his contract.
However, they are also mindful of enduring another season where one of their best players is off contract and clearly wanting to leave.
The past four seasons have been dominated by the looming departures of big name players Charlie Dixon, Jaeger O'Meara, Dion Prestia, Gary Ablett and this year Lynch.
The Suns fear that as word spreads of May's desire to move the storyline will dominate next season as well.