DAVID Swallow said it took two months to decide the "timing was right" to hand the baton to Touk Miller as Gold Coast's co-captain alongside Jarrod Witts.
Swallow and Witts shared the duties the previous four seasons, and speaking for the first time since his decision, Swallow said many factors played into it.
"Me and Dewy (coach Stuart Dew) had a few conversations that started pre-Christmas," Swallow said.
"For me personally it felt like the timing was right and I certainly felt Touk was ready to step into the role.
"It wasn't something we thought about one second and made the decision the next day, it was over a two-month process.
"We didn't rush into it.
"The more we spoke about it we felt like it was the right decision for myself and the club most importantly."
Upon the official announcement, Miller was all praise for Swallow, saying the veteran had personally taken him aside to discuss his decision in a "humbling" experience.
Swallow has been with Gold Coast since late 2009, when he was given permission to head east from Western Australia, 12 months before being draft eligible, to play in the Suns' VFL team.
He has played 175 games and seen just about everything since being taken as the Suns' inaugural No.1 pick in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft.
"I'm just hoping it can free myself up to play a different role for the team and I'm looking forward to that," he said.
"Part of the decision was trying to grow our leadership capability across the group and I certainly feel that we're getting there."
The young Suns head west for round one to take on a West Coast outfit that has been hit hard by injuries over the pre-season.
Witts, who will play his first game since rupturing his ACL last April, said his team was not buying into any narrative it would start favourite.
"I don't really buy too much into that at this stage," he said.
"They're a quality team and we haven't had a lot of success over there. By no means are we taking what's happening over there lightly.
"We're expecting a strong team and that's what we're ready for.
"They've got quality players still on their list, guys who can win games. They've got a really good system and played it well together. We really respect them highly."