Walking into the 2018 grand final, a surreal optimism filled me.
Collingwood’s Dayne Beams is taking an indefinite break from the AFL to focus on his mental health, the star midfielder intent on regathering himself after a difficult year.
Beams has said he will not return until he has dealt with his mental health issues, but is confident he can again dedicate himself to the sport.
The 29-year-old stepped down as captain of the Brisbane Lions last year as he struggled to come to terms with the death of his father in March.
“I have been on the record in the past about the battles I have fought,” Beams said in a club statement released on Wednesday.
“Right now, I need to step away and regather myself.
“I hope people will understand that this is something I need to do for myself and, importantly, my family.
“Our wellbeing is the highest priority.”
Beams, the Pies’ second-round pick in 2008, was traded to the Lions after the 2014 season to be closer to his dad as he battled cancer.
He returned to Collingwood via the October trade period, but was troubled by a hip problem in nine senior appearances.
He underwent surgery after round 11, which would have seen him struggle to return this season.
Beams is a best-and-fairest winner at Brisbane and Collingwood, an All Australian in 2012 and was part of the Pies’ 2010 premiership side.