Main content

Inside the Beams deal: How Lions handled star's trade to Pies

'It's the wrong decision...let's just call it what it is' Costly Ump's call, see how Carlton blew it, the 'underappreciated' Eagle and how Crows can turn it around

IT WAS July last year when Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann received a phone call from Paul Connors, one of the game's leading player managers and the agent of gun Lions midfielder Dayne Beams.

Connors told Swann they might have a problem. "He's talking about going back to Melbourne," he said.

THINGS WE LEARNED Tigers still have the AFL's best backman

This was the first inkling the Lions had that their former skipper and brilliant onballer might not see out his contract with the club.

Beams, who played in Collingwood's 2010 premiership before leaving the club at the end of 2014 to join the Lions, had two more years to run on his deal at Brisbane.

Dayne Beams celebrates the 2010 flag with Collingwood. Picture: AFL Photos

The club was aware of mental health issues Beams was having, particularly since losing his father in March last year, but he continued to play at a high level and was one of their match-winners.

The chat didn't go much further and it wasn't pursued by Connors, but it lingered in the back of the Lions' minds.

The Magpies soon got wind of Beams' interest in returning to the club, but that fluctuated. Brisbane wanted to know his intentions, but his mind continued to chop and change.

At the end of the season Beams addressed the rumours at the club's best and fairest, admitting he had thought of leaving but that he loved the loved the Lions, his teammates and Brisbane's direction.

"That was really a driving factor in me wanting to stay here and stick around so I love where we are going and I love you boys," he said.

'I BLOODY LOVE YOU' Beams' emotional tribute

The Lions were optimistic but not completely convinced despite the comments, unsure which way he would turn in a month's time when the NAB AFL Trade Period opened.

That he leant to the black and white was not a shock. Beams had spoken with Magpies coach Nathan Buckley over the phone by then, with Collingwood the only club he considered.

He didn't meet with any other club nor entertain the idea of shifting to a Melbourne club that wasn't the Magpies.

But Beams and his camp knew it wouldn't be straightforward given his contract status.

Dayne Beams won the Lions' best and fairest in 2015. Picture: AFL Photos

Brisbane started trade discussions by wanting two first-round picks in exchange for Beams, who four years earlier they had given up pick No.5 (which turned out to be Jordan De Goey) and Jack Crisp to secure. 

The Magpies weren't going to do that outright, and prioritised their draft strategy so wanted selections back in return for Beams to pay for Academy prospect Isaac Quaynor and father-son Will Kelly under the draft's bidding system.

Under the draft's economy, Collingwood needed picks for points, and the Lions knew that.

Although the deal wasn't sealed until the final half an hour of the trade period, both clubs, and Beams' camp, remained confident (on different scales) of it going through.

There was layers to the delay, including the haggling of which picks would swap hands.

Collingwood was keen on securing Bulldogs defender Jordan Roughead through a trade and not as a free agent so not to affect the compensation they had gotten for losing free agent Alex Fasolo to Carlton, so had that front of mind as well. 

Brisbane was also in talks with the Bulldogs for defender Marcus Adams, while the key dominoes of the Trade Period – Jesse Hogan's move to Fremantle and then Lachie Neale's to Brisbane – didn't fall until the last day.

The Lions had identified Neale as a target when they thought Beams was going to still be at the club, and wanted them to play together.

Beams' decision to leave changed their plans, making it easier for Brisbane to facilitate the Neale deal and also made it more important they landed the Dockers star.   

The deal struck was the final of last year's Trade Period, and saw Beams (plus pick 41 and 44) head to the Pies for pick 18, 56 and a future first-round selection.

Beams started the season in solid form, before missing last week's win over the Western Bulldogs with a migraine. If fit, he will join teammates in meeting his ex-teammates at the Gabba on Thursday night, when the Lions host Collingwood to kick off the Easter weekend.