Beams could be ray of hope for the Lions
DAYNE Zorko said earlier this week the Brisbane Lions should go after Gary Ablett as a post-season marquee signing.
He was joking of course, but did stress his side needed another "big body" to help out in the midfield, and offered up someone a little more obtainable, Collingwood star Dayne Beams (pictured).
Despite the club heading for a $3 million annual loss, the Lions are still prepared to show prospective recruits some serious money.
New chief executive Greg Swann confirmed on Melbourne radio last week the club had an "incredible amount ... more than anybody" - believed to be upwards of $1million under the salary cap - and would be chasing 24-25-year-olds to complement a promising young list.
Beams would be a fantastic get - he turns 25 next February and is both reaching the peak of his powers on-field, and cleaning up his act off it. He is also a Queenslander, and his brother Claye is entrenched at Brisbane.
Coach Justin Leppitsch is already excited about having Stefan Martin, 27, Tom Rockliff, 24, Pearce Hanley, 25, and Zorko, 25, rejoined in the midfield by injured trio Matthew Leuenberger, 26, Jack Redden, 23, and Daniel Rich, 24, next season - he would be drooling at the prospect of slotting Beams in there too.
But even if Beams wanted to jump into the millionaire hotseat at Brisbane, Collingwood and its president Eddie McGuire hold the cards. The midfielder is contracted until the end of 2015, and isn't a free agent until 2016.
What would it take for the Magpies to come to the trade party? The Lions' No.4 pick in the draft? Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger? Both?
If Beams remains in Melbourne, it might pay for the Lions to throw some of that substantial cash at a key forward who can hold down a position in the team.
Jono Freeman (six goals in his past two games), Michael Close and Daniel McStay look outstanding prospects, but none will even be 21 by the time next season rolls around, and need to be relieved of some pressure.
The Lions may feel it will be enough to have one of the rucks, Leuenberger or Martin, to add some strength up forward, but they need real goalscoring power after averaging a record-low 68 points a match this season.
Despire retiring mid-season, Jonathan Brown (21) will finish second on the club goalkicking behind Josh Green (30). Daniel Merrett takes a decent defender but has had just 19 shots on goal (11.8) in 18 games.
Of course, quality forwards are hard to come by and Brisbane will be wary after its experience with recruits Jordan Lisle, Luke McGuane, and Jackson Paine (13 games, three goals combined in 2014) and, let's not forget, Brendon Fevola.
And the Lions certainly won't be alone in having a player to fill that position near the top of its off-season shopping list as recruiters and list managers start going to market from Monday.