ANDREW Raines admits he was a little jolted when coach Justin Leppitsch told him the Brisbane Lions would not be playing a regular tagger in 2014.

It was a role Raines had made his own over the previous three seasons, and one he had done as well as most in the AFL.

But under Leppitsch's new direction, he's made it clear he wants versatile, multi-dimensional players – so Raines had to change.

Not to mention the fact the coach wanted to play youngsters.

It wasn't quite a case of teaching an old dog new tricks – Raines is only 28 – but more retraining the things he'd learnt as a pup.

Raines spent the first five weeks of the season in the NEAFL, re-learning how to balance his game between attack and defence.

Recalled against St Kilda last week, he was like a fresh-faced rookie again.

Raines used the acceleration and dash he made his name with as a defender at Richmond to rack up 24 disposals and help the Lions to their first win.

He said while at first Leppitsch's message was a jolt, it didn't take long to change his mindset.

"I can understand where the club's at in terms of bringing a bit of youth in and seeing where the list's at," Raines said.

"He (Leppitsch) said there's no real specific role as a tagger, but there might be times when we do it, so you've got to add these strings to your bow.

"It gave me a challenge. A lot of people haven't seen my offensive game, particularly in recent times because I've been playing that (tagging) role, but deep down I know I can play that role."

Raines admitted that by playing so defensively over recent years, bad habits had crept into his game.

He said although it was "disappointing" to be left out of the seniors initially, it allowed him to return to reserves level, get some more of the ball, and work on the other parts of his game.

Above all, Raines said he had to relax mentally.

"I felt like I've been a big part of the last couple of years and watching the boys the last four or five weeks has been hard," he said.

"I just took some real energy into the game (against St Kilda), some excitement and buzz and not to take things too serious or be up tight.

"At my age, nothing's guaranteed.

"I've seen a bit of the sliding doors and hopefully I've got a bit more to give.

Don't think 'this could be my last chance', maybe harness that and play with a bit more freedom in your mindset."

Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting