The football pundits in Melbourne will tell you the twins showdown between Max and Ben King on Saturday night is the support act to the  main event on Sunday between Harry and Ben McKay.

And it’s understandable given that it’s a first for the McKay twins who have never played against each other in eight and a half years in the AFL. And if things go to script, they will be directly opposed when Carlton play Essendon at the MCG on Sunday night.

Key defender Ben, in his first season at Essendon after seven seasons at North Melbourne, will be trying to shut down key forward Harry, who is proven goal-kicker at Carlton.

But don’t try to sell the support act story to Brook and Marni King, whose twins will play against each other for the third time when Gold Coast SUNS take on St.Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

No matter how often it happens it’s always a nerve-wracking experience, they’ll tell you. Something that only the parents of siblings can fully understand. Even though the Kings play the same key forward role so are usually at opposite ends of the ground.

The King brothers, identical twins like the McKays, are similar enough in appearance that they are easily confused and are part of a special AFL story.

Drafted two spots apart in the 2018 National Draft, Max at #4 and Ben at #6, they are one of four sets of brothers in AFL history taken top 10 in the National Draft.

Luke and Sam Power went at #5 and #10 to Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs, Mark and Jarrad McVeigh went #5 and #9 to Sydney and Essendon, and Xavier and Raphael Clarke went at #5 and #8 to St.Kilda.

They’ve both missed a season of AFL football due to a right knee reconstruction, and have career statistics that are strikingly similar. Ben can claim bragging rights on their primary role of kicking goals – he has kicked 165 goals in 85 games at 1.94 goals per game, while Max has 154 goals in 80 games at 1.93gpg.

Ben has kicked four goals 10 times and five goals four times, while Max has six bags of four, two bags of five, and one six. This equates to Ben having kicked 0-2 goals in 63.5% of his games and three-plus in 36.5%. The equivalent figures for Max are 73.5% and 23.8%.

Ben has a 33.3% win ratio, largely due to an 0-15 start, while Max is at 47.5%

But the statistic the SUNS #34 won’t like is his 0-2 record against the Saints #12, even though his individual performance in their only two meetings was better.

Both have been at People First Stadium, and both times he’s kicked three goals and Max has kicked one. But St.Kilda won by four points in 2020 and by nine points in 2021.

Ben has played St Kilda three times without Max being in the opposition side for one win and three goals, while Max has played once against Gold Coast without Ben for three goals and a 43-point win at Marvel Stadium in 2022.

The King family is one of 10 which has been part of the SUNS journey and has had brothers in the AFL system. And no less than five of them were involved in the inaugural season of 2011.

Gary and Nathan Ablett were the first and only brothers to play together with the club. They did so in Rounds 22-23 2011 after they’d had three years, 32 games and the 2007 premiership together at Geelong.

Amazingly, younger brother Gary, the 357-game AFL mega champion and inaugural SUNS captain, played in every one of Nathan’s 34 AFL games.

Nathan Ablett made his SUNS debut with the brother of another noted AFL star. Joel Tippett, a Miami local who spent 2007-08-09 on the Brisbane list, played two games with the SUNS in 2011 and seven games at North Melbourne in 2014-15, he debuted in Round 22 2014 against older brother Kurt, who played 104 games at Adelaide and 74 games at Sydney.

But even before the Round 22 Ablett/Tippett “arrival” three families had stamped their mark on the expansion club, with David Swallow and Alik Magin members of the SUNS’ very first side, and Maverick Weller debuting a week later.

Magin, a SUNShine Coaster who would play eight SUNS games in 2011-12, followed in the AFL footsteps of older brother Rhys, who had played four games at Essendon in 2008.

Swallow, also a member of the first side, began a long rivalry with older brother Andrew, a 224-game star and captain at North Melbourne, when they played against each other in Round 12 2011.

North won by 59 points at People First Stadium, and won by 34 points when they met for the second time in Round 5 2012, but that’s where his run ended. The SUNS won the other three games in which the brothers were opposed in 2013-15-17.

Of course David, five and a half years younger, had scored a ‘win’ over his big brother even before his debut. He was drafted from Perth at pick #1 in the 2010 AFL National Draft after Andrew Swallow went to North at #43 in the 2005 National Draft.

And he had extra reason to celebrate the SUNS’ Round 5 win over Hawthorn at PFS – it was his 215th game, which took him past his good mate, who in retirement moved to Byron Bay to live and spent time at the SUNS as a specialist coach in 2019 and AFLW development coach in 2020.

Maverick Weller played 32 games with Gold Coast (2011-13, 89 games at St.Kilda (2014-18) and two games at Richmond (2019), and by moving from Tasmania to the Gold Coast he opened the door for younger brother Lachie Weller to play at the Gold Coast.

A member of the SUNS Academy in Mav’s early years, Lachie missed his first chance to play with his adopted ‘home’ club when the SUNS preferred Peter Wright at pick #8 in the 2014 National Draft. He went to Fremantle at #13 and played 47 games with the Dockers in 2015-17.

The Weller brothers played against each other three times in Lachie’s three years at Fremantle. He had a win in his second AFL game but lost their next two meetings, and lost again in their last meeting in what was Lachie’s 12th game for the SUNS in 2018.

The SUNS were introduced to the Kolodjashnij family from Launceston when a then 18-year-old Kade was snapped by the club with pick #5 in the 2013 National Draft after he’d won the Harrison Medal for the best player in division two at the Australian Under-18 Championships.

Only Tom Boyd and Josh Kelly (GWS), Jack Billings (StKilda) and Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) were drafted ahead of the SUNS’ Kolodjashnij, who in 2014 finished fifth in the final vote for the AFL Rising Star Award, won by a vote by Brisbane’s Lewis Taylor from Bontempelli.

Tagging along when Kolodjashnij first visited the SUNS’ headquarters was twin brother Jake, who went to Geelong with pick #41 in the same draft after the SUNS had taken Jack Leslie at #20 and Sean Lemmens at #27.

The Kolodjashnij twins played against each other only once in Kade’s 78-game stint at the SUNS from 2014-18 – in Round 6 2016 when the Cats won by 120 points in Geelong.

They were opposed again in Kade’s first game for Melbourne in Round 2 2019. Sadly, Kade played only once more before he was forced into retirement due to concussion issues, while Jake continues to enjoy a now 185-game career at the Cats.

After the King’s arrival on the AFL scene in 2019 the next family imprint on the SUNS came in 2023 via Tom Berry, from Horsham via Ballarat, and Elijah Hollands, a Riverina product after a much-travelled youth as the son of ex-Richmond player Ben Hollands.

Berry, pick #36 in the 2018 National Draft, had played 20 games at Brisbane from 2020-22, including 12 with older brother Jarrod, before joining the SUNS, where he has played once against the now 144-game Brisbane veteran, who was pick #17 in 2016.

That was at the Gabba in Round 8 this year when the Lions won by 34 points.

Hollands, pick #7 to the SUNS in the 2020 National Draft, played 14 games with the club in 2022-23 but did not play against younger brother Ollie, who joined Carlton via pick #11 in the 2022 National Draft. They are now together at Carlton, and played against the SUNS in Round 11.

And as King and Berry await their next brother-on-brother meeting, David Swallow continues to build on his statistical edge over brother Andrew, and Lachie Weller looks forward to his comeback from a second knee reconstruction, there is some good mail suggesting another SUNS family connection is not far away.

Gold Coast local Bodhi Uwland, this week’s NAB AFL Rising Star nomination, is hoping it will be younger brother Zeke, who is a member of the SUNS Academy and is playing with the Allies in this year’s Australian Under 18 championships. He’ll be in the 2024 draft pool.