Friday 3 October 2008

Teenager Dayne Beams, the pick of the Australia Post Queensland U18 side this year and a member of Southport’s AFLQ premiership side, has confirmed his commitment to nominate for the 2009 AFL National Draft in preference to joining the proposed new Gold Coast franchise.

As Emma Quale reported in the Age today, Beams had two options. The first was to sign a healthy contract with the Gold Coast team, spend the next two years living and training at home and hopefully play in the new club's first AFL team.

The second was to forsake all that, enter this year's draft, wait anxiously to see if a club picked him up and, if it did, have a chance to make his dreams come true as soon as next season.

It was an easy choice, in the end.

"I really wanted a shot at playing AFL next year and that was the big thing for me. I didn't want to wait two more years to have a crack at it," said Beams, who decided to embrace the uncertainty that is the draft and is the only Queenslander at the draft camp in Canberra.

Five of the midfielder's teammates in the state under-18 team — Jesse Haberfield, Jack Stanlake, Charlie Dixon, Zac Smith and Jack Stanley — decided to stay at home with the new team, which will start out under coach Guy McKenna in the TAC Cup next season.

Beams' decision was swayed somewhat by the existing clubs, some of which spoke to him before the Gold Coast handed its offers out, encouraging him to put himself in the draft pool.

Not long after making the call, he played in Southport's premiership side and also injured his hip, an injury that will heal after a few weeks rest but has meant sitting out all of the athletic testing at the camp this week.

"That's made me a bit nervous, but it's something that me and my management group and parents spoke a fair bit about," said Beams, who works as a groundskeeper at Southport.

"We wanted to make the right decision with it, but I think the best option for me was to have a crack at the draft this year and see what happens. I had to weigh it all up, the Gold Coast were putting me under the pump with it, but I've made the decision now and I'll stick by it and see how I go.

"I had probably half-a-dozen clubs speak to me, so that was a bit reassuring. There's a bit of uncertainty there and I have to hold my breath for a few more months, but the clubs I've spoken to this week have been really good. There's some good signs and I just have to wait."

Beams stood out on the Queensland field this year for more than his obvious playing abilities — he has the words "strength through loyalty" tattooed across his chest and a more elaborate design snaking all the way down his right arm: flames, a deck of cards, the Australian flag and other bits and pieces.

"I just have an interest in tattoos. Both my stepfather and my father are pretty heavily tattooed, so I've sort of grown up with them and when I turned 18, I thought I'd get a few. Or an armful," Beams said.

"It's cost me over $1000, so it hasn't been cheap. I don't think I'll be getting any more for a while."



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