Name: Max King /Ben King
Range: 1 - 10
Looking for a key position player who can play either forward/defender/ruck? How about two? Twin talls Max and Ben King are elite talls set to dominate the draft conversation for different reasons in 2018.
The 201-centimetre brothers, who play for Sandringham Dragons and attend Haileybury College, are equipped to play as a mobile key position duo in any game. Usually playing Max as a key forward and the skinnier faced Ben a key defender, the boys control marking contests all over the field, and are equally dangerous when the ball goes to ground.
Max seemed the more likely prospect in 2017, but after kicking a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football earlier in the year, he tore his ACL early in 2018. Even so, both have enormous scope to mature and dominate at AFL level, and there is no reason why if Ben is in the number 1 conversation at year’s end, that Max shouldn't be too.
“As athletes over 200cm they’re freakish,” AFL talent manger Ryan O’Connor said of the King twins. “Given their athleticism and ability to impact in a bottom-age year, it all bodes well for the top-age year.”
“They read the ball well in the air and when they get big and tall, a bit like Ben Brown, there’s not too many that can get above that. Twins compete against each other.”
The case for Max
Max King controls the forward line and can chop out in the ruck, was very impressive for both Haileybury and Sandringham in his bottom-age season, and kicked a bag of 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier this year in the TAC Cup. His length and leap make him an elite mark both on the lead and in packs, he dominated with his height and reach at times. He’s no one-trick pony though, as he’s very strong athletically, and can burn defenders with his turn of pace.
Why you’d pick him over Ben:
- One of the best pure key position forwards in the past decade
- Good leap and strong marking
- Extraordinary athleticism and agility for a tall
- Uncanny ability to get space on the lead from his opponent
The case for Ben
Ben King controls the backline, and regularly shows his strong athleticism and good rebound for a key position player. Ben spent some time forward in his bottom-age season and kicked a couple of bags. Since Max has gone down he's been a regular up forward, kicking 18 goals in 2 school games. Ben also won the MCC’s President’s Medal as the best player for the AFL Academy against North Melbourne VFL, showing he can mix it against bigger bodies. He looks the more likely of the two King twins to be a genuine swingman.
Why you’d pick him over Max:
- Natural key defender, and premiership sides of the past 5 years have been led by great key defenders (think Rance, Lake, Scarlett)
- Reads the play superbly, and dictates the play from behind the ball
- Looks better with each game he plays up forward, could be a genuine threat at both ends
- Hasn't done an ACL, giving him a chance to show his wares at the Champs.
No twin prospects will ever have as much attention as Max and Ben King will this season. Conservative recruiting managers will say Ben should be picked before Max, but Max had been considered the bigger talent before his knee injury, and I'd love to see a bold recruiter take the riskier King early. I have no doubt that Max will repay the faith.
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