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Life without Jonathan Brown yet to sink in for young Lions

Michael Close of the Lions marks the ball during the 2014 AFL Round 09 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 17, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Michael Close is one of the Lions' options to fill the void left by Jonathan Brown
PLAYING without Jonathan Brown hasn't sunk in for the Brisbane Lions just yet, but Claye Beams expects a lift against North Melbourne on Saturday night to honour their champion forward.

The Lions conducted their first main training session at the Gabba on Thursday morning following Brown's retirement earlier this week.

Beams said while Brown's absence had not been spoken about, he was sure the players would dig a little deeper against the Kangaroos.

Brown will be honoured with a lap of honour at half-time of Saturday night's fixture.

"We haven't spoken about it, but I suppose it's in the back of your mind, you want to send Browny off the way he deserves to be sent off," Beams said prior to training.

"I don't know if it will be an emotional lift. Browny's career has been well reported this week and how much of a legend he was.

"It's sad to see him go, but at the same time he's got a young family, just had his third kid, so it's almost a sense of relief that he can finish up on his own terms."

Beams said the former captain's absence had not sunk in and would probably do so as the season wore on.

He expected young forwards like Michael Close and Jono Freeman to step in and fill the forward line void over the remaining nine weeks.

Beams will play his sixth successive game at the weekend, a personal best in his injury-interrupted 20-game career to date.

The Gold Coast local has averaged 14 disposals and kicked three goals in his five games this season.

Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger will return from a knee meniscus injury suffered in round four by playing for the Lions' NEAFL team on Saturday.

Brent Staker is expected to play the following week after having almost overcome a calf problem.