St Kilda young gun Max King set for lead role in revamped forward line

Jarryd Roughead has move to temper the excitement about likely Round 1 debutant Max King, but says the 19-year-old has shown plenty of promise as he prepares to lead St Kilda’s attack.

Teenager Max King will lead St Kilda’s forward line this year as the club tempers excitement about his sky-high potential.

The No. 4 pick from the 2018 draft, King is set to replace Josh Bruce as the primary target in attack for the revamped Saints.

The 19-year-old, who played five VFL games last year after recovering from a knee reconstruction, will likely partner Paddy Ryder and Tim Membrey in a three-pronged tall forward set-up.

Champion forward Jarryd Roughead said he had been impressed by King since joining St Kilda’s football department.

But he downplayed the excitement surrounding the 202cm prospect and conceded King was unlikely to play every game as he is managed through his first AFL campaign.

“He’s a 19-year-old key forward and there’s going to be some high expectations on him,” Roughead said.

“But we’ve got to actually remember he’s only really played four or five VFL games last year coming off a knee reconstruction.

“He’s been training as the No. 1 key forward and he’s doing some good things.

“But we also know it’s a long year and can’t expect that this kid is going to be a 70-80 goal forward just yet.

“We’ve got to be patient and understand that key forwards do take a little bit of time. But from what I have seen already in the three months I have been there, it’s pretty promising.”

Max King pushes his case for a Round 1 debut in pre-season training.
Max King pushes his case for a Round 1 debut in pre-season training.
Max King flies for a mark for Sandringham in the VFL. Picture: Michael Klein.
Max King flies for a mark for Sandringham in the VFL.

King will be among a host of new faces in Brett Ratten’s Round 1 side after the Saints picked up Brad Hill, Dougal Howard, Dan Butler, Zak Jones and Ryder in last year’s trade period.

Roughead said he was excited to see how endurance machine Hill, his former premiership teammate, relished playing regularly under the Marvel Stadium roof.

“He’s definitely one that’s matured. How he trains, how he runs, it’s pretty impressive still,” Roughead said.

“Seven out of our first eight games are under the roof at Etihad, so we’re not going to slow him down with a wet ground or anything like that.

“It will be very interesting to see how he goes.”

Roughead told SEN ex-Port Adelaide swingman Howard would start in defence but was likely to pinch-hit in attack.

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