AFL Draft Wrap: Will Max King be the next great key forward?

Get tipping on ESPNfootytips now! (0:30)

Gather your friends, round up your colleagues and join ESPNfootytips for another year of tipping fun. (0:30)

Each week, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Chris Doerre casts his eye over the country's best junior footballers to give readers an early insight into the next generation of AFL stars.

As well as attending live games, Doerre pores through match vision, analyses the stats and talks to industry sources to ensure he can offer the most insightful draft analysis.

Aside from the weekly wraps, Doerre will also unveil his power rankings at the end of each month and as we get closer to November's national draft, Doerre will also predict who goes where with his annual phantom draft.

Player Focus

Starring for Sandringham in their 24-point win against Oakleigh was Max King. The 201cm, 86kg key forward amassed 19 disposals and nine marks (six contested) while kicking eight goals and five behinds. He finished two goals shy of matching Oakleigh's score which is an incredible effort considering Oakleigh only one week earlier won by 50 points against Eastern.

The big man is arguably the best key forward to come through the Victorian junior ranks since Joe Daniher in the 2012 AFL Draft.

Against Oakleigh, King stationed himself inside the forward 50m and launched at everything that came his way, attacking each ball aerially, taking most marks he attempted overhead. He was also impressive in always working to gain front position which allowed him either to take a mark or draw a free kick.

While King is an imposing and unstoppable monster of a marking forward, he is also very capable at ground level, picking up several ground balls cleanly and naturally and showing impressive mobility. Also pleasing was a chase-down tackle from behind which awarded him a set shot on goal.

King, who possesses a 55-60m kick, will need to continue to work on his set shot. He continually marked the ball 20-30m out directly in front which speaks to how dominant he is, but with five behinds and one shot sailing out on the full, King will need to get better in front of the big sticks.

A further area for improvement for King is his capacity to push up the ground. While he is so dangerous stationed inside 50m near the goal square, it would be a definite plus if King could push up the ground more, with clubs seeking players who can contribute in multiple positions and roles.

Overall, King is comparable to Jonathon Patton as a dominant key forward. King is more athletic but not as strongly built at the same stage, but is similarly a tall key forward who can dominate close to goal. Like Patton, King is in the mix to be picked first overall in this year's draft, though with the talent up the top end this year, that is no given. He is however one of three or four prospects who more years than not would be picked at No. 1.


Also standing out in Sandringham's win was Max's brother, Ben King. Ben, 201cm, 85kg, spent the first three quarters playing as a key defender before shifting forward for the final term. He secured 20 disposals, nine marks (four contested), six inside 50s and one goal. Like Max, Ben also was very clean with his ground ball pickups. The most impressive element of his game was his intercept marking, always seeming to be at the drop of the ball and protecting the drop zone. His kicking also was very reliable with 14 of his 15 kicks effective.

A surprise packet for Sandringham from St Kilda's Next Generation Academy, Dawit McNeish, was very lively at stoppages. The 177cm, 75kg midfielder gathered just the 14 disposals, nine contested possessions, five tackles and three clearances but stood out by winning loose balls and was always first to it. His evasion and one of his chase-down tackles also caught the eye.

Listed in Oakleigh's bests in their loss to Sandringham, Ben Silvagni gathered 11 disposals, five marks (two contested), two goals and two score assists. The son of Stephen and brother of Jack is eligible as a father-son selection for Carlton and is bigger than his brother at 194cm, 84kg. Ben is a genuine key forward who presents up strongly at the football. His body-on-body work was also effective along with his forward pressure.

Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy Member Lachy Dawson led the way in Greater Western Victoria's win against Geelong. The 182cm, 81kg midfielder collected 28 disposals, 10 contested possessions and one goal.

Prolific as we have come to expect through the midfield, Sam Walsh was Geelong's most productive in their loss to Greater Western Victoria. The 183cm, 74kg midfielder accumulated 36 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six marks and one goal.

Backing up his strong performance from last week, Xavier Duursma performed strongly in Gippsland's win against Dandenong. The line-breaking midfielder managed 26 disposals, 14 contested possessions, six tackles and five inside 50s.

Overage key defender Angus Paterson was Dandenong's best in their win against Gippsland. The 198cm, 88kg key defender collected 17 disposals and 12 marks (four contested).

Impressing up the other end of the ground for Dandenong was goal sneak Jai Nanscawen. The 184cm, 73kg forward produced 15 disposals and six goals.

One of the TAC Cup's best kicks, Tom McKenzie shone for Northern in their win against Western. The 183cm, 71kg McKenzie who was named Northern's best gathered 28 disposals, 11 contested possessions, nine marks (one contested), six tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s. McKenzie in his two performances so far this season has shown improvement in the contested side of his game which will only help his draft stocks.

Son of Scott West, Rhylee West performed strongly for Calder in their win against Eastern. The 180cm, 81kg, father-son prospect amassed 29 disposals, 13 contested possessions, four marks (one contested), six tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s, one goal and two score assists.

Curtis Taylor also impressed for Calder. The 186cm, 79kg, damaging midfielder gathered 22 disposals, 14 contested possessions, nine clearances and one goal and will be on the radar of clubs with first round selections with further strong performances as a high-impact-per-possession midfielder who also impacts games as a forward.

For Bendigo in their loss to Murray, one of this year's top midfield prospects, Jye Caldwell was a standout. The 184cm, 79kg midfielder secured 24 disposals, 10 contested possessions, seven tackles and one goal.



Promising midfielder Jack Hately figured prominently for Central Districts in their win against North Adelaide. The 192cm, 80kg midfielder collected 22 disposals, six inside 50s and one goal.

Potential No. 1 overall selection Jack Lukosius continued his strong vein of form with 12 disposals, six marks and three goals for Woodville-West Torrens in their win against West Adelaide.


Playing an instrumental role for Norwood in their win against Sturt, Luke Valente starred. The 186cm, 79kg midfielder amassed 39 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s.



A further possible father-son selection for Carlton is Wil Hickmott, the son of Adrian. The 180cm, 72kg midfielder gathered 28 disposals, six marks, two goals for Subiaco in a convincing win against East Perth.

Western Australia's most highly touted prospect Ian Hill was solid for Perth in their loss to Swan Districts. The skilful 174cm, 66kg, line breaker secured 23 disposals in Perth's loss to Swan Districts.