Former North Melbourne forward Jack Mahony has opened up on his "surprise" Arden Street exit and his plans to prove his value at AFL level after earning a second chance with the Gold Coast Suns.

The 22-year-old was one of seven cut from the Kangaroos following their three-win season, with Mahony not offered a new deal after waiting months in limbo and on the sidelines without a contract after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in May.

The new Suns recruit had initially thought a new deal was set to arise with the Roos after a luckless campaign and some "good chats", however a different direction for North Melbourne saw the two parties go their separate ways.

It would be close to two months into the off-season before Mahony's fate was finally made, with the small forward telling Zero Hanger he was blindsided by the club's call.

"It was a bit tough. You're not sure when you're injured, you're not gonna play the rest of the year and you're out of a contract as well. It was a bit of an uneasy time," Mahony said.

"We had some good chats, I was confident I was going to get a new contract at North, so it did come as a bit of a surprise.

"I had to wait until after the first round of delistings, there were a few of us that were kind of in limbo for a bit, but then I found out probably six or eight weeks after the season.

"It was a surprise but you understand it. They wanted to go in a different direction in terms of my position. They want to change the role a little bit to a different style of player."

Within a week of his exit from the Roos, Mahony had already garnered interest from Gold Coast and was once again placed in limbo waiting to learn if a move to Queensland would come to be.

While he was hopeful a lifeline would eventually be on offer, the Sandringham product was left to wait in the dark up until the Rookie Draft.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 29: Jack Mahony poses during a Gold Coast Suns AFL media opportunity at Heritage Bank Stadium on November 29, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Alongside 2023 Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal winner Sam Clohesy and Northern Territory product Will Rowlands, Mahony was among the surprise rookie recruits the Suns selected at last Wednesday's intake, with the former Kangaroo ready to prove his old club wrong.

"It definitely is motivation. No one likes to be told they're not good enough," Mahony said after making the move north.

"Getting a second chance, I'm just ready to put 110% into everything and make sure that I get the best out of myself.

"I'm ready to move my career onto another path on the Gold Coast and see what I can do. I'm really motivated, really confident that I can still have an impact at AFL level."

Mahony is expected to be part of main training under new Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick in the new year as he looks to finalise his rehabilitation from mid-season shoulder surgery.

With the Suns looking to inject the pressure forward into their plans to start their new era under Hardwick, Mahony is hoping to have an immediate impact at the Queensland club.

"It's good. It's good to be back training. I'm nearly back 100%," Mahony said of his shoulder injury.

"I've still got a few contact measures to tick off, but I'm feeling really good and back in the gym and running as well. It's good to be out there running around and training for the first time in a while.

"This pre-Christmas block is about getting my shoulder right and then cracking in after Christmas to really push for a spot. I've still got to earn the respect of the players and then I'll push for one of those spots."

Mahony isn't short on seeing a few familiar faces at Carrara, having played with or against the likes of Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Connor Budarick, Sam Flanders, Malcolm Rosas and Hewago Oea during his draft days, but none compare to best mate Aiden Bonar.

His ex-North Melbourne teammate has also swapped the blue and white for Suns colours, with Bonar training for a vacant list spot with Gold Coast during the pre-season.

Like Mahony, Bonar was also not offered a new deal by the Kangaroos and is keen to make a name for himself with the Suns. The pair have bought into helping each other continue their respective careers, with Mahony hoping his good friend can secure a list spot in the sunshine state.

"Coming up with [Aiden] has been super helpful. Just having a face to get around. I think we've kind of got similar views on it, we've both got another chance here to have a crack," Mahony said.

"We'll work together and push each other along and really get the best out of each other, which is kind of a perfect setup.

"I'd love him to get another gig. He worked hard and he's a gun player when he's healthy. So I'm kind of pushing him along and he's pushing himself along. We're trying to get the best out of each other."

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: Aiden Bonar of the Kangaroos is chased by Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the round five AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at GMHBA Stadium on April 18, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Another "bonus" for Mahony with his Suns switch has been the reunion with former North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw.

Shaw was in charge of the Roos when Mahony was drafted and when he played his debut game against Hawthorn three years ago. After leaving Arden Street at the end of 2020, Shaw has since moved up to the Gold Coast to work with the Suns as a development coach.

"It was definitely a bonus," Mahony said of having Shaw by his side again.

"Shawy was unbelievable for me. Drafted me at North and then gave me a chance at AFL level, gave me my debut. Playing under him that year I learned heaps from him.

"It's definitely been good to see him again.

"Dimma has been really good too. You can tell why he's been so successful. He's a great communicator, a great balance of fun and enjoyment as well as getting down to business and cracking in."

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Mahony is one of seven new recruits at the Suns, with Werribee's Clohesy, Rowlands and the Suns' Academy quartet of Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers and Will Graham all commencing their pre-season programs last week.

The club could add to their list of inclusions during the Supplemental Selection Period with Bonar and former St Kilda forward Jack Peris both training for list spots.