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Twin towers happy to stand in different Kingdoms

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 22: Max King (left) of the Saints and Ben King (right) of the Suns pose during the 2018 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

MAX King could have easily been pick No.1 in any other NAB AFL Draft, but now after becoming the No.4 overall pick he will have the chance to replicate the feats of his childhood idol – Nick Riewoldt – in St Kilda's forward line. 

Up north, his twin brother Ben, one of the most highly-rated swingmen in the Draft, will have the opportunity to fill the shoes of either Tom Lynch or Steven May in Gold Coast's new-look side after being snagged by the Suns with pick No.6.

The King brothers, who became the first twins to be drafted inside the top 10, will soon be separated by distance but say they will never lose touch.

"It'll be a bit different because we've never really been apart, but no doubt we'll be in contact and I'll follow his career closely, and I'm sure he'll do the same with me," Max King said.

There was a belief at the start of the season that Max King would be in the discussion for the No.1 pick, but that all changed when the key forward injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a school game for Haileybury College in April.

Ben King started the season as a key defensive option and was best afield in the NAB AFL Academy's game against North Melbourne at centre half-back earlier in the year. But when his twin brother went down with his season-ending knee injury, he switched to the forward line and displayed his versatility in a different capacity.

Max King is hopeful he will be ready to start full contact training in two months’ time and (now at the seven-month mark of his rehabilitation) the key forward is targeting a return to the field when the 2019 season begins.

The Saints have been keeping an eye on King's movements all season with the highly-rated tall prospect completing his rehab with two sessions a week at St Kilda's training facility at RSEA Park and utilising the services of the club's physios.

It means he is no stranger to the club and the people there, having already developed relationships with forward line teammates Paddy McCartin, Tim Membrey and Josh Battle.

"I'll be ready to play around round one, whether I play then that's up to the physios," Max King said.

Ben, like Max, is an exceptional athlete and at 202cm he is just as adept when the ball hits the ground as he is when he jumps at the footy in the air.

"That's one of the few benefits of Max doing his knee," Ben said.

"I got to showcase what I could do at the highest level at the national championships, so I was glad I got the opportunity to play forward and back."

Max often gave Ben tips and advice about his forward craft at the quarter breaks of games, and they say they'll continue to provide the necessary support for each other even though they will be living in different states.

Both players will be given plenty of time from their respective clubs to develop in the AFL system, but with St Kilda set to do battle with Gold Coast in round one next season, could we see an intriguing battle between the King twins on the field for the first time?

"It is very tempting (to return) but to be honest I don't think it will happen by then. But if it does – game on," Max King said.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs