AFTER a "stale" 2021, Gold Coast running defender Lachie Weller was at the crossroads.

Not in terms of wanting to play footy – he loves it – but in how good a player he wanted to become.

Weller played three years with Fremantle before being traded to the Suns on a high-profile five-year deal at the end of 2017.

He adjusted quickly, finishing third in the club's best and fairest in his first season.

Weller was solid again in 2019 and had a terrific 2020 when moved to the midfield to give Gold Coast more pizzaz around the ball.

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And then there was last year.

The 26-year-old played 13 games, averaged 18 disposals and kicked seven goals. His season finished early following a concussion suffered at training that took longer than expected to overcome.

"I was at a crossroads a little bit," Weller told AFL.com.au.

"When you have talent you can get to 100 games quite easily and then there's that next step you've got to take and you've got to find something to make it to 200.

"I felt like I was kind of at that crossroad. Having a really good chat at the end of the season and they (club) felt the same, that I needed to find something."

That "something" was a huge pre-season of running that saw Weller run quicker than ever in the club's 2km time trial and regain the repeat effort speed he once had.

Lachie Weller at Suns training on January 28, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

He was entering the final year of his contract and after a conversation with the coaching staff, returned to defence after two seasons in the midfield.

Rhyce Shaw has worked tirelessly with Weller, and he has thrived.

"The first COVID year (2020) I went back into the mid and I had a positive year and then it was a bit of a stale year last year, I didn't really improve," Weller said.

"I wasn't playing my best. I spent three days a week in my off-season with Jacko Elliott's squad (Gold Coast Run Co), doing heavy k's. It held me in pretty good stead.

"Mentally you get confidence from doing the work, which I felt like I needed to find that confidence in my game.

"Hopefully it holds me in good stead through the season being able to back it up each week and being more of a seasoned AFL player."

Weller is working on a three to four-year deal to remain with Gold Coast and said there were plenty of factors that drove him, including the birth of his daughter Marloe.

Lachie Weller with daughter Marloe. Picture: @lachsweller Instagram

"I get the kick out of being with my mates every day and creating memories," he said.

"My daughter's only 10 months old, but hopefully soon she can watch me and remember those days.

"It's showing her that her dad can get the most out of himself and being the best he can be at something he's passionate about.

"Stuey (Dew) also talks a lot about being the first to do something.

"Lots of people talk about Gold Coast not really being a footy area, but I think it is.

"To be the first, it would be a really really special time on the Gold Coast to have success.

"There's a lot of AFL supporters here, they're just behind closed doors and waiting to be captured.

"It's up to us to keep inspiring and getting people to games to watch us."

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