By Mark Perriman
Lions utility, Claye Beams is set to make his return for the seniors on Saturday against North Melbourne.
A strong showing for the reserves in the NEAFL against Southport on the weekend looks to have swayed coach Justin Leppitsch to include the highly rated 22-year old.
“He looked pretty good on the weekend so we just have to weigh up if he is ready to make the step up or if he would be better off with another hit-out in the reserves,” Leppitsch told the Courier Mail this week.
A return against the Kangaroos at Etihad would be the luckless Queenslander’s first AFL match since rupturing his ACL in training early last year.
It would mark the final step in the long road to recovery for the former Labrador Tiger, having also required preseason foot surgery.
Beams first attracted the eyes of recruiters after only a handful of games in the QAFL and was selected by Brisbane as a Priority Pick in the 2009 Rookie Draft.
Given the growing reputation of his brother, Collingwood midfielder Dayne, the younger Beams was always bound to attract attention.
Claye initially had other ideas, focusing his prodigious sporting talents to cricket.
But having witnessed the success of this brother, a return to his first love was on the cards for the then 17-year old.
Watching Dayne play re-ignited the footy spark and I decided to have a crack at it. I haven’t regretted it for one second,” Beams told the Herald Sun in 2009.
Footy has flowed through the veins of the former Mudgeeraba Saint since taking up the sport at aged five.
Like his brother, the Lions number 17 was himself a talented youth, having represented the Gold Coast at U14 level, as well as the South Coast U15s.
As fortune would have it, Claye wound up at Labrador in search of a kick.
Six senior games later, the former park cricketer was in the cross hairs of AFL scouts.
The rest is history and earlier this month, Lions officials rewarded the young-gun with a one-year contract extension.