AS GREAT a player as Dayne Beams has been – and as much as Magpie fans would love to see the 2010 premiership player back in black and white after four years in Brisbane – he is surplus to requirements at Collingwood, which has far more pressing needs to meet in this NAB AFL Trade Period.
Beams is one of the game's most damaging playmakers – an inspirational, hard-ball winning, goalkicking midfielder – but the Pies are already brimming with quality runners.
Nathan Buckley's team came within a whisker of winning the premiership this year and a significant factor in their success was their dominant midfield, which is arguably the best in the AFL, with ruckman Brodie Grundy providing an armchair ride for stars Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Taylor Adams.
In recent times the Woods have also unearthed outside runner Tom Phillips and big-bodied Josh Kennedy clone Brayden Sier, while emerging forward/midfielder Jordan de Goey is expected to spend increasing time in the engine room and lightning-quick youngster Jaidyn Stephenson, the NAB AFL Rising Star award winner this year, appears headed in a similar direction.
TRADE SHOCK Beams wants to return to Collingwood
And if veteran Daniel Wells can finally arrest his injury issues in the last year of his three-year contract, the Magpies would have a midfield log-jam.
Admittedly, it would be a good problem to have – a luxury of riches – but there are a few other key points to consider in this Beams-to-Pies prospect.
Firstly, what would the Magpies have to give up to get the deal done for a champion contracted on big money for the next two years? On even the most cursory cost-benefit analysis, the answer is, probably too much.
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The Pies' first pick in next month's NAB AFL Draft is currently at No. 18, and the Lions would need considerably more than that. Indeed, the Pies would likely be asked to pay 'overs', the general going rate for such transactions.
Dayne Beams wants to be back in black and white. Picture: AFL Photos
And let's not forget Beams will be 29 in February. He's still performing superbly but he might well be on the outer edges of his prime.
The Pies would clearly be a better team with Beams in their line-up, but they have more urgent issues to address and would be best served focusing on bolstering their area of greatest need: key defenders.
Veteran full-back Lynden Dunn and luckless third tall Matt Scharenberg are expected to miss the bulk of the 2019 season as they recover from knee reconstructions, while the recommitted Darcy Moore, though a potential star at centre half-back, is injury-prone.
In their absence, the undersized Tom Langdon was one Magpie who manfully stood up under serious heat, but the 24-year-old is yet to accept a new two-year deal and has been the subject of overtures from Fremantle and Sydney.
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Gold Coast captain Steven May looms as a potential solution, and one that appeals as a more important acquisition than another gun midfielder.
Of course, our view would possibly flip if the Pies somehow conjured a win-win trade like the one they did for Beams in the first place in 2014.
In a five-club mega-deal, Collingwood released Beams to Brisbane and fellow premiership player Heritier Lumumba to Melbourne in exchange for four players who were part of their premiership bid this year – picks No. 5 (used to secure De Goey) and No. 25 (on-traded to North Melbourne for tagger Levi Greenwood), Geelong's dual premiership player Travis Varcoe and the "set of steak knives" in former rookie Jack Crisp, who starred at half-back.