RECOVERING from his shoulder reconstruction has been a slow process for Dayne Beams, but Brisbane Lions ace is confident of playing in round one.
Beams missed the final five games of 2015 to undergo the reconstruction and, despite a strong rehab program, is still yet to re-join the main training group.
However the 25-year-old, who was one of four best and fairest winners in his first season at the Lions, said the shoulder felt stronger than ever.
"It was a fair reconstruction of my shoulder, so I'm just being cautious at the moment, but all things tracking well, hopefully I'll be right for round one," he said.
"I'm moving into a bit more contact stuff now, and once I'm into that I can enter the main group and start training again, but that'll probably be a few weeks off yet.
"I feel stronger in the gym, and all the contact stuff I've done to date has been pretty good."
Along with veteran defender Daniel Merrett, Beams has been added to a six-man leadership group, headed by skipper Tom Rockliff.
The former Collingwood premiership player said that after 12 months at his new club, he had noticed a definite shift entering his second season.
"The most important thing for us is that we have everyone buy into everything we're trying to do," he said.
"It only takes one or two to think 'it's crap, it's not worth it' and it just forces the whole thing to break down.
"I've definitely seen a shift. I've definitely seen more buy-in from the boys.
"There's a lot more guys speaking up in meetings, wanting to have a say, wanting to have an input and wanting us to be better.
"It's definitely been a better pre-season than it was last year."