EVEN before he's played a game, it's clear to see Pearce Hanley is a new man since moving to Gold Coast.

In his final season at the Brisbane Lions, Hanley was frustrated on-field and up-tight off it.

He'd been with the Lions for nine seasons after being recruited from Ireland – something he's eternally grateful for – but the club and player had fallen out of love. 

During games he was arguing with umpires and teammates, and away from the field he was closed off. 

In 129 games, Hanley had been a part of just 38 wins. 

Only time will tell how the trade works out for the Queensland rivals, but for Hanley, it's already been a win. 

Six weeks into his pre-season, the 28-year-old is more relaxed and says it's physically the best his body has been since hip surgery almost two years ago. 

He is living on the beach at Burleigh Heads and has fitted in right away with his new teammates. 

"I wasn't happy last year, I think everyone could see that," Hanley told AFL.com.au.

"The change-up has definitely rejuvenated me. 

"I played every game last year, but it's probably the worst my body's felt.

"(High performance manager Justin Cordy) JC's been absolutely incredible. I think they're going to get the best out of me, whereas I didn't see that happening in Brissie." 

Hanley's best football is mouth-watering, with an ability to break lines with both his run and arrow-like kicking. 

He can execute kicks other players simply don't have the vision to attempt.

The midfielder has already shown off his skills at Suns training and there's a quiet feeling around the club he is already in their best handful of players. 

Hanley said he was confident he could regain his best form.

"I've got higher expectations of myself than anyone else," he said.

"Last year at Brisbane wasn't good mentally.

"Physically I didn't feel good either. I was plugging a few holes last year, and this year they see me as a vital part of their team and I look forward to them having faith in me and me repaying them.

"No doubt about it. I'm looking to get back to my 2014 form before my hip surgery."

Hanley will have an extended stint in Ireland over Christmas – three weeks – to spend time with his ill younger brother.

"The club's been absolutely amazing."