Jack Steven came close to AFL retirement this season as he dealt with his mental health issues.
But the new Geelong recruit ended the year with a renewed love of the game and is confident he can return quickly to top form.
The four-time St Kilda best and fairest was granted his wish on the last day of the trade period when the Cats and Saints reached a deal.
Steven, 29, only managed seven senior games this season because of his mental health struggles.
Asked on Thursday if he had considered walking away from the game, Steven simply responded: "Yes" before reconsidering.
"I love playing ... I still wanted to play.
"I don't think my footy dies down that quickly, it's just my fitness and getting to happy, healthy state," he added.
"It (having a break) had to happen. Everyone reacts differently to mental health. Some people can deal with it better than others and I just needed to take a break. It was the right thing to do."
Steven's parents and his wider family live near Geelong and that prompted his wish for a move to the Cats.
"I will just be nice and comfortable ... get fit again, get happy, get healthy, that's just what I'm aiming to do," he said.
Steven said there were a few nervous moments during the trade negotiations and he also stressed his gratitude to St Kilda.
"It was touch and go maybe for a little bit, but it worked out pretty well," he said.
"I was still contracted at St Kilda, so I understood there was still a process there.
"If it didn't happen, it didn't happen. Obviously the Saints are a great club as well and it wasn't all doom and gloom, but I was really happy to come down to the Cats.
"I owe a lot to them. I'm really thankful and I still love the club, but super-stoked to be down here."
Steven, who played a year at the Geelong Falcons before joining St Kilda at 17, returned early from a holiday in Hawaii to start settling in.
He intends to be ready for round one and will play "whatever role I'm told".