Max King in action for the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: Getty
Max King in action for the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: Getty

Will Saints pick the next Tom Lynch?

AFL draft guru Kevin Sheehan says the key forward St Kilda is considering with pick No.4 has shown the same special traits as superstars Tom Lynch and Joe Daniher.

The Saints will have a series of meetings this week in the lead-up to Thursday night to settle on its preferred target with pick No.4 in the national draft.

Alan Richardson's men have some glaring midfield needs, but have been eyeing Bayside local and 204cm goalkicker Max King all season.

If he slips past St Kilda in favour of gun midfield prospects Connor Rozee (North Adelaide), Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) or Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers), King will almost certainly head to the Power at pick No.5.

It shapes as a huge call for a new-look St Kilda football department, including national recruiting manager Tom Liberatore and new list boss James Gallagher.

Sheehan, who heads the AFL's talent identification department, said King had tremendous athletic qualities and could pull down big marks at full reach like Lynch and Daniher.

"He (Max) is a boy that is pretty special," Sheehan said.

"He's quick and agile. He is not just your big-bodied tall forward who has one trick like a big strong mark that plays inside 50m.

"He gets around the ground magnificently, so it's his athletic ability and his marking at the highest point (that is the difference).

"It reminds us of Tom Lynch at the Tigers, that type of guy."

However, there is a trend in club land to focus more on top-end midfield talent in the first round of the draft in recent years.

Some of the talls taken early in the first round of the past few drafts are still establishing themselves at AFL level, including No.2 pick Josh Schache (Bulldogs) and No.1 picks Jacob Weitering (Carlton) and Paddy McCartin (St Kilda).

St Kilda great Leigh Montagna said it was a high-stakes move taking a 200cm key position player with such an early draft pick.

 

Identical twins Max (left) and Ben King are both expected to be top-10 picks on Thursday night. Picture: Michael Klein
Identical twins Max (left) and Ben King are both expected to be top-10 picks on Thursday night. Picture: Michael Klein

 

"I'm just wondering whether clubs are now taking a set against the risk of taking a key forward, and instead, just take a gun mid with your top pick," Montagna said on Triple M.

"You know you are going to get a bona fide good AFL player.

"I'm a bit nervous (about that pick) because St Kilda don't necessarily need the key position players. I'd rather take the best midfielder in the draft."

King tore his anterior cruciate ligament in April but has made outstanding progress in his recovery, training alongside his identical 202cm twin brother Ben in recent weeks.

They are set to be the first set of twins taken inside the top-10 of the national draft.

Sheehan said both had bright football careers ahead of them.

"These boys are ready to step up and play," Sheehan said.

"It's their speed and agility that sets them apart.

"They're very worthy of top-five (choices)."

News Corp Australia


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