WHEN Andrew Raines was told by the Brisbane Lions he wasn't part of their plans for 2015, the midfielder found himself at a crossroads for the second time in his career.

At 28, and after 123 AFL games, was it time to hang up the boots or could he roll the dice once more?

After finishing the 2014 season in the Lions' reserves, Raines gave it some thought and called Gold Coast football manager Marcus Ashcroft.

After a few discussions, the Suns committed to taking the ultra-professional midfielder in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft.

Suns turn to maturity in rookie draft

Not only has it given Raines another chance to play at the top level, but the Gold Coast product can now play in his home town.

"It's very special," Raines told AFL.com.au.

"I've done the full circle and (I’m) back to where it all started, which is very exciting."

Your club's off-season rated

Raines is not kidding himself though. With such a loaded midfield that includes Gary Ablett, David Swallow, Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and Jaeger O'Meara, winning a senior call-up will be difficult to say the least.
But at the back-end of his career, he can bring so much more.

In six seasons with Richmond and five with the Lions, Raines forged a reputation as one of the most committed and professional athletes on either list.

"I'll be pushing to play senior football, but with that comes an off-field role and that's to try and pass on things I've done for 12 years to help me stay around so long … professionalism and leadership," Raines said.

"I think I can implement that with the younger members of the team."

Raines has been training with the Suns for the past three weeks, and has already reacquainted himself with former Lions teammate Michael Rischitelli – another 'follow-my-lead' type of hard worker.

"I've noticed they're a really tight group," Raines said.

"There was about 17 or 18 drafted together when they started and they've formed strong bonds and strong relationships.

"The talent speaks for itself.

"I'm definitely rejuvenated. I'm rocking up to training each day and living each day as it is … not looking too far ahead.

"I'm a realist, so what I'm trying to bring is that positivity and enjoying it. If I can bring that and it rubs off on other people, then I'm doing my job."