SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew says he feels honoured to have been bestowed Life Membership by the AFL at the 2022 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday night.

Dew was one of 11 players, coaches, umpires and administrators to be awarded AFL Life Membership for their services to Australian Rules football.

“It’s obviously a huge honour to be recognised with life membership from the AFL alongside some very special contributors to our game,” Dew told SUNS Media.

“Across my time in the game I’ve built many strong relationships with some outstanding people and that’s what makes this game so great.

“I’ve been influenced by many, and hopefully across my journey I’ve been a positive influence on not only my teammates but now the players and staff at the Gold Coast SUNS. 

“I couldn’t have achieved any of this without the support of my family and friends throughout the years. My wife Sarah and two children Frankie and Jack continue to inspire me in my current role.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, partly because in many ways it has gone very quickly but mostly because I’m firmly focused and confident that our club is on the cusp of some specials years together with the group we have.”

GC SUNS CEO Mark Evans said Dew should be proud of the impact he has made in his career as a player and coach.

“I’ve been lucky enough to know Stuey in the back part of his career as a player at Hawthorn and as a coach at the SUNS,” Evans said.

“In both roles he has shown tremendous football IQ and an easy manner and rapport that helps him help others. 

“We needed a coach who could bring together a group of young players and bind them to each other and to the club while they learned and developed. 

“With Stuey we got all that, and a community-minded and family-first man. 

“We are thrilled that his contributions to the AFL as a player and coach have been recognised with AFL Life Membership and the whole of our young club is proud of his achievement.”

Dew played 206 premiership games and 23 pre-season games for Port Adelaide and Hawthorn across his 12-year playing career in the AFL, kicking 293 goals in that time.

He has coached the SUNS for 83 premiership matches since first starting in the role ahead of the 2018 season.