Dear Suns Members,

After nine years of service to the Board of the Gold Coast SUNS I plan to step down in mid-March after our opening Round game against Sydney. I have been contemplating this long and hard now for the best part of the last six months and I believe the time is right. Stepping down after the first Round of the new Season follows on from taking over the Chairman's reigns from John all those years ago, after the opening Round.

From the days of living in portable huts and players who seemed at times just as portable as the buildings we lived in, we have had a challenging and at times majestic ride. Others get to play judgement - but for my part it's been both fascinating and gruelling, demanding and demonstratively difficult but always a true labour of love laying a strong foundation for our Gold Coast club.

Being absolutely honest, one part of me does not want to leave. My love and passion for the SUNS, its people and its members and supporters are as strong as ever! I remain just as excited and involved in the progress of our young club as I did on day one. I absolutely love this club and the exciting possibilities of a bright future. However, the time is right. We have great stability, a strong administration and an outstanding playing list and football department, whom I firmly believe are on the road to finals in 2023!

I have enjoyed communicating and bringing the Gold Coast SUNS a voice; making a stand for our young Club when many only had an agenda to see us off. Some, no doubt, would argue my voice was too strong, Ok and your problem is! But now to a large degree we have those difficult times behind us and we need to focus on the growth and opportunities that we have all worked so hard to create over the past five-six years. The sense of stability and optimism around the Club is immense. I like to think I played a small part in building that direction, stability and foundation.

There are so many to thank for this amazing journey and over the course of the next six weeks I will get the opportunity to do just that, across our Club, our community and the AFL.

I could not write this without acknowledging some huge steps we took on my watch -the new T&A centre, controlling the debt despite having to operate a ground, being one of the early teams to gain an AFLW license and of course growing our Academy's nearly 1,000 young people with a pathway to opportunity in all our zones spread over vast distances.

I'm proud of how far we've come on field, our Board and Football department has worked tirelessly to reset our program and provide our Club with a platform from which we can stamp ourselves firmly amongst the competition's elite teams in the coming years. Importantly I'm just as proud of the growth we have made off field. I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of you and your dedication and support for our football Club, through the tough times and the good is something truly inspiring. We've got a community that is now proud of our football Club and a supporter base that will continue to grow from strength to strength, as we have done with record Membership numbers in the last couple of years.

Good people associated with Clubs such as ours, understand the job is never done. You are merely a custodian, holding the job and trying to hand it on better than the good people that preceded you. It is how sporting (and other organisations) thrive and grow. I've singularly loved being that brief custodian - I look forward to Bob East, as Chairman - elect, taking it to new heights and achievements.

I have not a single doubt, our greatest times and achievements remain ahead, as they should.

Now it's time for me to go to the footy and just enjoy it, take it in, barrack like my life depends on it and hopefully (with some decent umpiring, one can only dream) enjoy our collective journey to finals.

So folks, thanks for this amazing journey, huge thanks to all of you for putting up with me - it's been a work of much dedication, love and passion. I am so very grateful for the ride! See you soon and let's keep that Membership base growing, there will be a lot to like in your footy Club for some years to come. We are now firmly entrenched in the future as an AFL Club representing our great City - the Gold Coast and our important development zones in both Queensland and Darwin.

As I have done at so many functions, Chairman Club speeches etc, let me finish off the same way…… GO SUNS!

Warmest regards and much hope for a bright future,

Tony Cochrane