Tony Cochrane to step down as chairman of Gold Coast Suns

Outspoken figurehead Tony Cochrane has tipped a maiden AFL finals appearance for Gold Coast this season as he confirmed he will step down as Suns chairman after round one.

After nine years at the expansion club, Cochrane feels the time is right to hand over the reins.

In a letter to club members, he cited a strong administration, stability, and an "outstanding" playing list and football department as reasons for his confidence.

Cochrane described his time at the Suns as "fascinating and gruelling, demanding and demonstratively difficult but always a true labour of love".

Cochrane has often been seen as an agitator and defender of Gold Coast.

He remained a passionate advocate for the Suns' importance to the competition in the face of huge external criticism, in particular over the millions of dollars in AFL handouts that kept the club afloat.

"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," Cochrane wrote.

"Some, no doubt, would argue my voice was too strong ... 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."

Cochrane is proud of "huge steps" taken by the club under his watch, including building a training base next to Metricon Stadium, gaining an AFLW licence, controlling debt and developing the Suns' junior academy.

Cochrane's final game at the helm will be against Sydney at Metricon Stadium on March 18.