WHEN Dayne Beams runs on to Etihad Stadium next Saturday, he won't just be leading Brisbane out against St Kilda – he'll be taking another step in the toughest month of his life.
Beams recently lost his father Philip to bowel cancer, missing both pre-season matches as the Lions gave their captain – and brother Claye - all the time and space he needed.
Now just nine days before his season opener, Beams has spoken about what he expects to feel when he runs out against the Saints.
"I'm not going to avoid it, it's going to be an emotional game for me," he told AFL.com.au.
"We're wearing black armbands in honour of my dad.
"I think it'll hit me at the end of the game - I've got a lot of family coming.
"There's no avoiding that it's going to be hard.
"Even the first home game (against Melbourne in round two) is going to be hard because I travelled to and from games with dad, so it's going to be a little different without him in the passenger's seat."
Beams already has a young daughter, and wife Kelly is close to giving birth to their second child.
"I'm having a son in 16 weeks, so they're all things I'm going to eventually do with my son," Beams said.
"All the things I loved doing with my dad I'll do with him, they'll always live on."
From a footballing point of view, Beams said he would not be impacted by missing the JLT Community Series.
After recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, the 28-year-old has trained strongly.
"The club was really flexible with when I could train, I just haven't played a game," he said.
"I'm confident I can come in off no games.
"If it takes one or two games, so be it, I'm just keen to get out there and lead the boys.
"I'm really looking forward to getting it out of the way.
"It's going to be emotional, but I'll be OK."