PLACES in Gold Coast's midfield will be hard to come by this season, and energetic Tasmanian Jesse Lonergan knows he needs to improve to command a spot in Rodney Eade's best team.

Lonergan, 22, is entering his fifth season and has played 46 games, but coming off shoulder surgery, is in the midst of a crop of fringe players trying to impress.

After losing Dion Prestia and Jaeger O'Meara during the off-season, the Suns acquired the experienced Pearce Hanley, Jarryd Lyons and Michael Barlow to fill their midfield void. 

With Gary Ablett, David Swallow, Touk Miller, Alex Sexton, Aaron Hall and Michael Rischitelli already there, along with top-10 draft pick Jack Bowes, the competition for spots is hot.

Lonergan says it's the most competitive pre-season at the club since he joined late in 2012.

Aside from Rischitelli – who is expected to return from an ACL injury in May – the Suns have a clean bill of health in their engine room. 

"I'm trying to work a lot on my clean possession and my kicks, being a bit classier than just that grunt inside player," Lonergan told

"It's probably common knowledge that I'm not the best kick going around, but I want to get on top of that.

"I don't have to be an amazing kick, but I want to be a consistent, reliable kick. 

"And just having clean hands, I'm a bit fumbly inside.

"You look at all the good mids and they're one-touch players, and that's what I want to aim for." 

Lonergan played 15 games last season before popping his shoulder out against Melbourne in round 19, ending his campaign.

After having surgery in August, he was on a modified program early in the pre-season but has long been back in the main group.

He has played predominantly as an inside midfielder – and often in a run-with role – but said he had worked on becoming more versatile. 

"The five years has gone pretty quick, but it is five years and being in the system for so long and having so many pre-seasons under the belt, I guess I do have that expectation that I can play some regular, consistent footy," he said.

"I feel pretty good and having the new blokes come in to give me little tips, it's helped me a lot, I believe."