A Damien Hardwick game plan designed to hold up in big games has won over Jack Lukosius, who still expects some growing pains.

Three-time Richmond premiership coach Hardwick has made his presence felt since heading north to replace Stuart Dew.

Every day is different, Lukosius says, and the emphasis is on playing in a style that will be effective all season under the greatest pressure.

"As I've got to know him I've realised his passion for coming up here and coaching and where he sees we can go," Lukosius, who had signed a four-year contract extension while Dew was still in charge last year, said.

"He's definitely winning me over.

"He wants to play a system that he thinks will stand up in big games and finals. 

"But even more than that, he'll back us in to play to our strengths. Get the best out of us and he's got lots of self-confidence which is rubbing off."

Used in defence and on a wing since a 2019 debut, the 23-year-old was pushed forward permanently last season and kicked 39 goals – some from almost 70 metres out.


 He says he'll remain in the forward line next season, and the super-boot is hopeful of benefiting just as Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch did under Hardwick at Richmond.

"When they were up and running and moving the ball quickly, Riewoldt and Lynch were getting on the end of plenty," he said of the Tigers.

"With our dangerous forward line it's going to be exciting."

The SUNS finished 15th with a 9-14 record this year, three-and-a-half wins outside the eight to miss a maiden finals campaign in their 13th season.

On track at the midway point of the year, the SUNS were thumped by 78 points by eventual premier Collingwood.

But they showed their potential with a scintillating 41-point defeat of the Magpies' Grand Final opponent Brisbane four games later.

Lukosius has seen enough to think Hardwick, dubbed "the GOAT of the game plan" by current Sun and former Tiger Brandon Ellis, can raise the week-to-week standard.

"To stay in games and fight out gritty wins, that'll be the measure of how we go," he said.

"It'll take some time to adjust for sure, but the improvements will happen organically if we keep our mindset right."