- July 7, 2000
DRAFT ANALYSIS: “An athletic tall forward with the ability to dominate a game with his incredible athleticism and marking ability”
Max King has been talked about for the last two years not just for his ability, but because of the unique fact he has an equally talented twin brother, Ben. Both are 202cm key forwards with Max usually taking the reins up forward which allows his brother Ben to play down back. Max had his season ruined by injury, doing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing for school team Haileybury just when he looked set for a massive year, after kicking eight goals playing for Sandringham against potential grand finalists Oakleigh in the most dominant display seen this year from any player in the TAC Cup. Oakleigh did not have anyone that could go with him and when he got a run at it he was impossible to stop. King can dominate in the air but he will also tackle and offer support at ground level which makes him a complete package as a key forward, he tackles with intent and is not afraid of a bit of push and shove. Max’s injury should not affect his draft range and the timing should allow for him to still attack the pre-season for his new club.
- Football IQ
King’s athleticism is unreal for a player standing at 202cm, he is taller than some ruckman so when you combine his speed, leap and marking ability you get a player that’s near impossible to stop in the air. You will find many tall forwards lack something that could be identified to exploit whether that’s speed, height, leap or endurance but Max does not struggle in any of those areas and the only one are that could be considered an improvement is his strength, but that is something that will improve naturally, making King an extremely difficult match-up once he reaches his prime.
King’s marking, especially at the highest point, is a massive asset and when he gets a run and jump at the ball it is impossible to spoil him. King is a fantastic kick for a player of his height, you will find many 200cm plus players struggle with their ball drop and often taking a while to get ball to boot, but King has a fluid and penetrating kicking action. He is also very clean with his pick-ups and can fire out a handball as clean and quickly as most midfielders. King also has good footy smarts he will usually stay composed under pressure and take the right option, the way he can move side to side and dummy opponents shouldn’t be possible for a player his size but he does it anyway. Injury could be seen as a blessing in disguise and if anything what he has done so far has shown his resilience. He recently consoled a young footballer whose year was also cut short with injury, revealing the type of character King is outside of footballer.
The things Max King needs to improve on are rather easy to work on and I would not say they are weaknesses for him at this stage either. King’s strength is the main improvement he can make to become a dominant key forward at the elite level. He is fine against smaller bodies now, but like many developing talls he will need to spend plenty of time in the gym to be a real force at the next level and really make the most of his assets. The other area that could be considered room for improvement is his versatility, which unlike his brother Ben, has seen him played purely up forward (while pinch hitting in the ruck). Considering his dominance inside 50, it is not an area of concern, but when compared to the likes of his brother or fellow top-end tall Jack Lukosius, Max is the only one who has not spent considerable time in defence. One area that is hard to judge at this stage is his set shot goalkicking, with limited action this year to go off, booting 8.6 against Oakleigh in windy conditions at RAMS Arena. He was a relatively strong set shot for goal last season, so it is an area to watch, but have no concerns over at this stage, having booted 10.4 in his bottom-age year for the Sandringham Dragons.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Top 10
Max King was in the mix for the number one pick this year before injury and even with injury he is still projected to go top five and could provide a bargain if he slips even lower. The injury is unfortunate and many supporters would be hesitant in their club picking up a tall player in the top 10 with recent talls not coming along as quickly as hoped. However Max has the attitude and talent to warrant that early pick and despite only playing the one TAC Cup game this year, he also showed to recruiters what he is capable of. A 202cm athletic star who can dominate a game with the potential to be one of the top key forwards in the AFL once he reaches his prime.
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