All Ben Long wanted was to find an on-field home.

Four months after being traded from St Kilda to Gold Coast, the 25-year-old hard-nut could not be happier with his move north.

Off the field he's settled into the Queensland lifestyle quickly, and on it, he's equally at home in a back six that is starting to take shape.

Long, who played 79 games across six seasons for the Saints, spoke to at Gold Coast's pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast about his off-season move.

"I definitely loved being at St Kilda and the opportunity they gave me," Long said.

"My position definitely fluctuated at the Saints, but I feel like I still had an impact there.

"Part of the (reason for the) move was just not being settled, I was thrown around a bit over my time there and it was more to see where I could play my best footy … and that's down in defence."

And that's exactly what Stuart Dew and the SUNS think as well.

Serious injuries in the second half of 2022 to Connor Budarick (knee), Lachie Weller (knee) and Wil Powell (ankle) highlighted a small hole on the list for quick defenders.

Even with those men back this year – Budarick around the mid-point and Weller and Powell early – Long's speed and aggression will be a blessing.

He can play on smaller or medium-sized forwards, allowing Weller and Powell to push further afield and use their exquisite kicking skills.

Above all else, his hard edge is a nice complement to a team full of hard runners.

Long's final game in Saints colours would have the SUNS salivating, as he racked up career-highs in disposals (27), marks (17) and contested possessions (11) in a loss to Sydney.

"When we had the talks (before signing) and they asked where I wanted to play and I said "defence" and they came back with "that's where we want you to play" … it was good to hear that," Long said.

"Growing up as a young kid and playing in defence, I just loved that hardness.

"That's how I play and it's where I feel most comfortable and where I think I can get the best out of myself and have a bigger impact for the team."