Damien Hardwick has heaped praise on Gold Coast's "three amigos" for setting the defensive intensity he expects to lay a platform for success in 2024.

One of the big changes under Hardwick's watch has been to prioritise speed in the SUNS' front half, which was on display against Richmond last Saturday.

Malcolm Rosas jnr kicked three goals, Nick Holman added another, and Tom Berry had "one of the best" six-possession games Hardwick has seen.

The three-time premiership coach, who had great success with small forwards during his Tigers tenure, said it would be the same at the SUNS.

"The three amigos. Those guys are crucial to the way we want to play," he said prior to Thursday's main training session.

"Richmond, GWS, Collingwood – the speed factor up front is really, really important.

"They don't have to sit there and kick a great deal of goals. If they put on high pressure, win and nullify contests and make us hard to play against, that's a great result

"They have to understand how important they are to our system."

Hardwick said he messaged Berry following last week's win to reiterate just how important his performance was.

"Players, like everyone, have an ego," Hardwick said.

"People will look at his game and go, 'Oh, six possessions, that's not very fruitful'.

"But we look at his ability to hold role, play system and put pressure on and it was first class."

Not only have Rosas, Holman and Berry excelled, Hardwick used another small forward, Darcy Macpherson, as his substitute to keep the heat on.

He said defensive intensity would again be crucial in Saturday night's match against Adelaide at People First Stadium.

"They're the No.1 offensive side last year, so we're going to have our work cut out for us," Hardwick said.

"If we allow them to control the ball, their win-loss record is very high.

"We know we have to change that, disrupt it as best we can, force them into a style they don't want to play.

"(That's) easier said than done. There's a reason they're really, really good, it's because they have a great understanding of what makes them, them.

"We're going to disrupt them as best we can, but on the offset, it'll give us a chance to score off turnover if we get our game up and going.

"We know the answers before we play … but we've got to execute. That's the challenge for our boys and one I'm looking forward to."